I still doubt I can reclaim place at top, says Serena

I still doubt I can reclaim place at top, says Serena

And she has admitted the road back to the court has been a tough one.

"I think everyone should have high expectations", Williams said in an on-court interview after her loss.

But Williams says she is aiming to be back at her best - apparently more than comfortable with coach Patrick Mouratoglou's comments to wtatennis.com that her goal for this season "will be to win grand slams". Though she has a 5-0 career record against Watson, an accomplished player in her own right, the extended time off the tour may make this a hard match for Azarenka.

"I'm just happy that for both Venus and Serena that they're still playing, because I thought a few years back, or a while ago actually now, when they were not well, they had injuries and worries, that they were going to leave the game much earlier. As long as I'm moving forward, even if it's at a turtle's pace, I'm OK with that".

"I think she will be ready for Roland Garros". If I'm not ready now, I'm just never going to be ready.

'In two months I'll be way better but you have to start somewhere.

"I want people to understand there is no wrong way to be a woman".

But she believes returning to singles action now - a month on from playing a Fed Cup doubles match for the United States of America - will stand her in good stead for the year's three remaining Grand Slams. Venus reached two Grand Slam finals in 2017 and returned to the top five of the rankings.

She drew Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan in the first round of the women's singles. Her serve looked threatening and she hit some menacing winners as she beat another returning player - Marion Bartoli - before losing to Zhang Shuai in the semi-finals. It's just a little different, I'm just expecting to see where I am more than anything. The message is a strong one for all women out there, even if you haven't won 23 Grand Slam singles titles.

Talking about competing in the upcoming Grand Slams tournament, Serena was quoted as saying, "If I want to play in those grand slams and play well then now is the ideal time to start".

"It was good", the 36-year-old Williams said of the experience. I wouldn't be surprised if she wins [at Indian Wells], impressed yes, but not surprised.

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