Serena Williams makes her return to the pro tour after a 14-month absence with a first-round match at the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday, which she noted in an Instagram post marking the occasion is International Women's Day.
The new mother, who gave birth to a daughter in September, is offering fans a gold-toned pin in the shape of an S to show their support for her at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden throughout the tournament and later this month at a tournament in Miami.
"It's official. My comeback is here," she wrote in the Instagram post. "Thursday, the day I play my very first match, marks international women's day. My comeback could not have come on a better day and I decided I wanted to do something different let you all be [a part] of my long journey back."
Williams has played just one Fed Cup doubles match while away from the WTA Tour. The former No. 1 is unseeded and therefore didn't receive a first-round bye. She will play Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan in a night match.
She will try to become the first woman to win three singles titles in the desert. Her other titles came in 1999 and 2001 before she boycotted the event for several years.
Williams, a winner of 23 Grand Slam titles, is in the same quarter of the draw as older sister Venus. The siblings could face each other in the third round.
Also set to play Thursday night is another new mom, Victoria Azarenka. She's a two-time tourney winner who got into the main draw with a wild card. She's been sidelined because of a child custody dispute that limited her travel.
U.S. & World
Two-time winner Maria Sharapova returned to the desert for the first time in three years. She was upset by Naomi Osaka of Japan on Wednesday.