“The last time I was here I was actually pregnant and playing at the same time, which is insane,” Williams said, after beginning her title quest with a confident 6-0, 6-2 drubbing of Tatjana Maria of Germany, a fellow mother. “It was kind of weird walking in by myself this time. I have so many good memories of the last time I was here, it was literally the best win of my career.”
Serena was denied grand slam No24
The American returned to the Tour in March of last year, having suffered blood clots shortly after the birth of her daughter, Olympia, and she struggled for form and fitness in the first couple of tournaments.
It didn’t take long for Williams to find form, though. She reached the final at Wimbledon and again at the US Open, but was denied grand slam No 24 by outstanding performances from Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka respectively.
The pressure of equalling Court got to her in New York when she suffered a meltdown during the final but she said she was putting it out of her mind. “I have been going for the record what seems like forever now, so it doesn't feel any different,” Williams said.
Her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, said here two years ago that Williams is not motivated by records, simply winning grand slams. To do that, she will need to win six more matches but on her form against Maria, she looks strong.