Serena Williams returned to Wimbledon for the first time since tying Steffi Graf's Open-era record of 22 Grand Slams with a 7-5, 6-3 over Arantxa Rus on No. 1 Court.
After the victory, Williams shared her thoughts on her return to the All-England Club and how she feels as she progresses through the tournament in pursuit of her eighth Wimbledon title.
Williams was "trying to be more calm" during first-round match
During her post-match press conference, the American revealed that "more than anything, I just was trying to be more calm. I wanted to do so well. Sometimes that works against you sometimes".
For much of the match, she felt a bit of nerves: "I feel like I was just overly anxious and overdoing it." However, she eventually settled down: "Towards the end, I definitely was more calm, just making my shots, just playing a more serene game. I feel like it worked out."
"It's a great feeling" after not having played on grass for two years
Following her win here in 2016, Williams added her 23rd major title at last year's Australian Open, defeating sister Venus in the final to break Graf's Open-era record of 22 majors.
She missed out on the next four major tournaments as she married and gave birth to daughter Olympia. She returned to tennis at the BNP Paribas Open in March and made her major return at Roland Garros last month.
"It’s a great feeling. It’s been a couple of years since I played on grass. It’s definitely different, so I’m trying to find my bearings out there. "I haven't played a tremendous amount of tennis since I had the baby, and I haven't played in wind in a really long time. So I'm just not used to that yet".
American getting used to the conditions again
The opening day at the Championships saw hot temperatures and dry, windy weather, something Williams is familiarizing herself with again: "It was really windy for me today. I just wasn't quite used to that level of wind. Something that I would normally be okay with, normally have, 'Oh, this is this.'
"It's just getting all back to the hang of things, getting used to different circumstances." During most of the match, the seven-time champion was not happy with herself: "At the time I wasn't happy, but looking back, I'm glad I had that win. In the future I'll be able to play a little bit better."
Rus "played unbelievably today", Serena looking to "win emphatically"
Speaking of her Dutch opponent, Williams commented that Rus "She played unbelievably today. I’ve never seen her play like that, but that’s the game." She knows "you have to be ready for everything. I’m happy to get through because I didn’t play my best. I’ll get there; I’ll take it one match at a time."
Her injury seemingly behind her, Serena is looking towards the rest of the tournament: "In the moment you want to do so well, you want to win. I have such high expectations of myself. I expect to go out there. I expected to win this match. I don't go out there expecting to do well, see what happens.
"That's just not me: not only do I expect to win, I expect to win emphatically. Sometimes, I put too much pressure on myself, I'm overanxious. It's really just about learning that balance for me still."