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Williams says she's "ready" to return but admitted she won't immediately be at her best but will improve given time.

Williams, who claimed a 23rd Grand Slam title at last year's Australian Open before hanging up her racket for the season upon discovering she was pregnant with her first child, also skipped this year's tournament in Melbourne.

Williams warmed up for her Californian outing with an appearance at the Tie Break Tens exhibition event at Madison Square Garden, reaching the semi-finals before losing to China's Zhang Shuai.

'She's going to bring that instinct on the court with her, so I don't think she's too anxious about that'.

"But I keep going and I know that I might not be at my best yet, but I'm getting there and every day is a new day and every day I should be getting better". "It was good", she said of the experience.

Sharapova won Indian Wells in 2006 and 2013, but because of her suspension, she hasn't been able to play here since 2015. The ad features footage of Williams throughout her career as she voices over an account of all the ways she's been criticized for not being womanly enough before saying "b$3 ut I'm proving time and time again that there's no wrong way to be a woman". "I think everyone should have high expectations", said Williams, who will be unseeded at Indian Wells and open her campaign against 53rd-ranked Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan.

Mouratoglou said Williams would take time to build form and confidence. Her grandfather, Ernie, and uncle Kiki, now an National Basketball Association executive, both played for the New York Knicks.

Williams, 36, will return to the WTA Tour this week at Indian Wells after giving birth in September and is eager to break Margaret Court's record of 24 major singles crowns. She hasn't played a match for more than a year, she has had a baby with a lot of complications post-delivery.

"Of course, winning the first tournament of the year was a great start for me", Svitolina said.

"My expectations, I don't know what they are".

No one in the men's game can better Federer's haul of 20, the 36-year-old having won three of the past five slams as part of a stunning renaissance.

"I do feel she is the same person once she steps on a tennis court".

After all, the former world number one only gave birth six months ago, and six weeks of that time was spent in bed as she recovered from emergency surgery.