Playing the National Bank Open under a special ranking of No.16, Serena Williams defeated Spain’s Nuria Parrizas-Diaz 6-3 6-4 to record her first singles victory in 14 months and reach the second round in Toronto.
After getting injured in the first round of Wimbledon 2021, Williams had been absent from competition until Eastbourne 2022, where she played doubles with Ons Jabeur. At Wimbledon 2022 she made a singles comeback, but lost an epic battle against Harmony Tan in the first round.
In her post-match interview in Toronto, Serena explained that she was getting closer to the light at the end of the tunnel and couldn’t wait to get there. When asked what that light represented, the 40-year-old’s answer was “freedom”. The three-time Toronto champion continued:
I love playing though, so it’s like amazing. But, you know, I can’t do this forever. So it’s just like sometimes you just want to try your best to enjoy the moments and do the best that you can.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams is just the fourth female tennis player since 2000 to win a WTA-level main-draw match after turning 40, joining Martina Navratilova, Kimiko Date-Krumm and Venus Williams.
In the second round of the National Bank Open, Williams will face either Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic or Tereza Martincova.