2018 Fed Cup team photo at US Cellular Center in Asheville./ photo by Jason Sandford

The story of the first round of the 2018 Fed Cup competition here in Asheville is Serena Williams’ return to competitive play after more than a year off. Williams will be on court Sunday in Asheville.

Williams gave birth to a daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., on Sept. 1 and had several complications during labor that required surgery and a six-week recovery in bed. Her last match was a victory over her sister, Venus Williams, in the final of the Australian Open in January 2017.

Serena Williams is one of the greatest tennis players of all time. She has 23 Grand Slam titles, one away from Margaret Court’s career record. Williams could compete to tie that record as soon as the French Open, which begins May 27. (Williams has also played in four Olympic Games in 2000, 2008, 2012 and 2016.)

Here’s how Williams answered a series of questions about her return during a press conference in Asheville about her return:

Question: Serena, is your intention to play all three slams right now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Right now, I don’t know. Right now I’m focused on this weekend and after that I’ll figure out what it might be.

Q: Serena, how have the last several months been, motherhood, how has that changed you?

WILLIAMS: It’s been amazing. It’s been an amazing journey. It’s something I’ve never embarked on. It’s probably been the most fun of my life. It’s a totally new experience. I love motherhood. I look forward to just being the best mom I can be.

Q: Serena, why come back to this tournament, this event, instead of an individual event? What
is your goal ultimately in your comeback to tennis in general? Is it 25? Something else?

WILLIAMS: Why not Fed Cup? It’s a great opportunity to get, I mean, a new set of eyes on what I’ve been doing with Kathy. Also just hitting with different people, just seeing different balls, seeing lots of different things. I think it actually is a really perfect opportunity to try to come back.
Goals? I have long-term goals obviously. Right now my main goal is just to stay in the moment. It goes unsaid 25 is obviously something that I would love, but I’d hate to limit myself.

Q: Serena, obviously it’s a challenge to come back physically after what you went through with
the delivery. How much have you been able to get back to full scale training in the last month or
so since Abu Dhabi? How do you feel about Fed Cup in general versus the Olympics and other
team events that exist in tennis?

WILLIAMS: There’s been a lot of ups and downs in the practice. I think that’s normal for
everything that I’ve gone through. But it also gives me another view. It’s almost relaxing for me because I have nothing to prove. Again, just fighting against all odds to be out there, to be competing again. Fed Cup is a unique thing because you get to really intimately know the players. There’s dinners, so on and so forth. Olympics are pretty much the same, it’s just a bigger team, both the men and women. That’s fun, as well.

Q: Serena, in your comeback, in trying to get back into practice, managing those ups and
downs, who have you leaned on on the tennis side of things to keep your head in the right
place?

WILLIAMS: I have a great partner and relationship with Venus. She’s been really, really
positive. There’s moments that have just been hard, getting back out there doing it every day. You have to get used to that, get in the rhythm of that. I’ve been able to really rely on her for that.

 

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