Venus Williams kicked off her 2023 season at the ASB Classic in Auckland with a 7-6(4) 6-2 victory over American qualifier Katie Volynets in the first round.
For a long time Williams kept us in the dark about the exact date of her return to the Hologic WTA Tour, but the 42-year-old continued to reassure us that she was training hard and definitely not thinking about ending her tennis career. In the 2022 season, she played just four matches and lost them all, while in 2021 her last tournament was the WTA Chicago Women’s Open in August where she also lost in the first round.
Therefore, Monday’s straight-set victory at the WTA 250 event in New Zealand is Williams first match win since Wimbledon 2021, when she defeated Mihaela Buzarnescu in the first round before falling to Ons Jabeur in the second.
In her ASB Classic opener, Williams recovered from a break down in the first set, then stormed to a 5-0 lead in the second set and had the rain-interrupted match wrapped up three games later to victoriously start her 30th season as a professional tennis player. Her outfit included lilac separates from EleVen’s winter collection: the EleVen Women’s Winter Wrapped Tank and EleVen Women’s Winter Bling Tennis Skirt.
Williams’ next opponent in Auckland will be Zhu Lin of China. After New Zealand, the seven-time Grand Slam champion will go to Melbourne to play the 2023 Australian Open as a wildcard.