March 24, 2018

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Williams and Azarenka make winning returns to WTA tour at Indian Wells

10 March 2018

Serena Williams made a successful return to the tour at Indian Wells on Thursday night, defeating world No. 53 Zarina Diyas in her first match since the birth of daughter Alexis Ohanian in September.

But questions to Williams in her post-match news conference weren't only about motherhood, forehands and backhands.

Following Serena on court was her good friend Azarenka who because of issues between her and her ex-boyfriend over baby Leo, it was her first match since Wimbledon. 23-time champion of Grand slam tournaments in the first set of exemplary practically acted on his serve in the second game the American gradually began to lose power, but still managed to finish the match in their favor.

"I was thinking from zero to Serena, I'm probably just with the "S", I got a little ways to go". Indian Hills is Williams' first step toward another Grand Slam title.

Williams has been away since winning the 2017 Australian Open early in her pregnancy. US captain Kathy Rinaldi has the right to change her Sunday lineup after Saturday's play.

"I'm glad to be here, glad to be in the routine", Azarenka said. I have always been that kind of player that, if you are going to beat me, you are going to beat me and I'm going to congratulate you. Williams then broke her opponent again en route to winning the final five games.

"I'm so excited to play on this night, " she said.

"I'm playing with real joy out there". And this is really one of the few times when I've been able to do that. "Can you talk louder", she told the questioner, as part of an acerbic exchange, "so everyone can hear you ask about my drugs?" I probably will never just focus on playing tennis, being a mum, overall by having extra unnecessary things definitely doesn't make it easier. "I'm just doing everything in my power in the beginning of this journey", said Serena after the match.

"My focus was just to be out there and enjoy myself, and not to put too much pressure - but of course I've done that in the match, and I wanted to push myself", Azarenka elaborated.

She started hitting harder and her familiar grunting returned when she tied the set 5-5.

"She's been really supportive throughout this whole situation, sending really nice and encouraging messages for sure", said Azarenka of Williams.

Azarenka says she shares a deeper connection with Williams now that goes beyond their sport.

Williams and Azarenka make winning returns to WTA tour at Indian Wells