"The biggest difference was just confidence," Serena Williams had said after winning her first round of 7-6, 6-0 at the French Open over opponent Kristie Ahn. She had to have a ton of confidence as Williams had adjusted to the clay court surface after a 15-month absence.
The multi-titled champion had to call the Rome event 'a miss' It was meant to be a warm up competitive tournament but she was healing from an Achilles' ailment and skipped the event. In the match were scary moments from the beginning when Ahn had taken the icon to a tiebreak.
Williams had gave a sigh of relief when the points to the set went to her advantage continuing on with the second set. There were many tangibles surround the tournament which proved a challenge to even do well. The weather was cold and damp with between breaks players wore thick jackets.
A new heavier tennis ball was introduced giving criticism by many players as difficult to handle. Playing tennis during change of seasons is one thing, but during a Pandemic, quite another. Testing, social distancing and mask wearing when moving around besides from playing tennis were requirements for all.
Williams' opponent was also given the fact of 11 years being younger but oftentimes experience took over and it did for Serena.
It took less than two hours for Serena Williams to be the winner.
She'd gave Ahn a bagel in the last set as she was gradually getting used to the clay court surface again.
She's dished out 11 aces and over a few dozen winning shots to seal the deal at a tournament she's won three titles already. At the end of the day Williams was good natured about it all and laughingly said, "Cold weather and me do not mix...But I'm dealing with it.
I'm having a positive attitude about it." Unfortunately, Williams was scheduled to move onto the second round at Roland Garros against opponent Tsvetana Pironkova from Bulgaria but just before she'd to go on court withdrew because of that nagging Achilles' heel injury again.
She had sustained the injury at this year's US Open and through doctors were demanded to rest. "I don't know if I'll be able to play another tournament this year. It will mean a lot of time to fully recover...this is not a nagging injury. This is an acute injury...I love playing tennis. I love competing and I love being out here."