Finding her footing: Serena arrives in Paris

The three-time Roland-Garros champion hopes to make the most of her practice time this year in Paris

© Corinne Dubreuil/FFTSerena Williams, Roland Garros 2021, practice
 - Chris Oddo

Serena Williams returned to the scene of three of her Grand Slam titles on Thursday in Paris, with her sights set firmly on No.24.

Williams was first up on the Court Philippe-Chatrier practice schedule, having arrived earlier this week after a stint at her coach Patrick Mouratoglou's academy in the South of France, where she trained and also made an appearance as a spectator at an exhibition event on Monday evening.

Serena Williams, Patrick Mouratoglou, Roland Garros 2021, practice© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

The 23-time major winner spent the last two weeks getting her feet underneath her on the clay in Rome and Parma, where she went 1-2 with losses to 2020 Roland-Garros semi-finalist Nadia Podoroska and Katerina Siniakova.

It hasn't been the easiest transition for Williams, who took three months off after reaching the last four at the Australian Open, but she hopes to find her form in Paris.

"I just feel like it's different," Williams said of the hard court to clay court transition at Rome. "I have been training for months, but it feels definitely different on clay to make that last adjustment."

After her lone win on the clay this spring, over Italian qualifier Lisa Pigato in Parma last week, Williams hinted that she is starting to find her groove on the red clay, piece by piece.

"I feel like I'm just starting to feel more comfortable. It's been the hardest, I've always felt super comfortable on the clay, and this year has been a little more difficult than normal, I think it was because of the long hiatus I've had on clay," she said. "Yeah I just felt a little more comfortable than before."

The American, who notched Roland-Garros titles in 2002, 2013 and 2015, owns a career record of 66-13 in Paris. She is scheduled for a second practice session on Court Simonne-Mathieu later on Thursday.

Serena Williams, Roland Garros 2021, practice© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT