Serena Williams went for a striking cat suit look as she returned to Grand Slam action with victory in the first round of the French Open Tuesday.
Dressed in a figure-hugging black outfit with a pink band around her waist, the 36 year-old American ,saw off world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova 7-6, 6-4 in an hour and 45 minutes.
While clearly not at the kind of physical level that has brought her 23 Grand Slam titles, Williams showed that a winner’s mentality remains intact as she came through a stern examination after weeks of preparation on the clay
Playing her first Major since the birth of daughter Alexis Olympia on September 1, she is determined to show that the competitive fire still burns bright.
She will struggle to win the French Open on this evidence, but the medium term goal will be to mount a serious challenge at Wimbledon, and that may well be within range.
‘I’m very happy,’ said Williams. ‘She played really well; she made a lot of aces (15). Two years has been a long time but I trained really hard on the clay. I’m taking it a day at a time.’
Pliskova is the twin sister of number six seed Karolina, a solid player but not as good as her sibling and someone who has never won a match at Roland Garros before.
Williams had not played in a Grand Slam since last year’s Australian Open, and her only appearances at all since then as a singles player had seen her win two matches at Indian Wells and then lose in the first round of the Miami Open.
She had deliberately held back from a return, skipping Rome and Madrid, in order to make sure she was ready to compete on what is her least natural surface, training at the academy belonging to her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou.
Her first point was a dropshot to chase, and it was the initial indication that her movement was definitely improved from her performances in America.
Taking to Instagram to encourage mums, Serena wrote: “Catsuit anyone? For all the moms out there who had a tough recovery from pregnancy—here you go. If I can do it, so can you. Love you all!!”