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Pictures | Tue May 29, 2018 | 8:45pm BST

Serena Williams returns to Grand Slam court

Even the Parisian stormclouds cleared for Serena Williams on Tuesday, as the new mother's baby steps back to Grand Slam tennis became a stride into the second round of the French Open after defeating Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic.

REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Even the Parisian stormclouds cleared for Serena Williams on Tuesday, as the new mother's baby steps back to Grand Slam tennis became a stride into the second round of the French Open after defeating Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech...more

Even the Parisian stormclouds cleared for Serena Williams on Tuesday, as the new mother's baby steps back to Grand Slam tennis became a stride into the second round of the French Open after defeating Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
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Dressed in a skintight, all-in-one black bodysuit, broken up by a vivid scarlet belt, Serena captivated the French crowd from the start of the contest to its 7-6(4) 6-4 conclusion. "Two years has been a really long time," she told the crowd in French, referring to her last match on clay. "I am just so happy to have won a match here... thank you all."

REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Dressed in a skintight, all-in-one black bodysuit, broken up by a vivid scarlet belt, Serena captivated the French crowd from the start of the contest to its 7-6(4) 6-4 conclusion. "Two years has been a really long time," she told the crowd in...more

Dressed in a skintight, all-in-one black bodysuit, broken up by a vivid scarlet belt, Serena captivated the French crowd from the start of the contest to its 7-6(4) 6-4 conclusion. "Two years has been a really long time," she told the crowd in French, referring to her last match on clay. "I am just so happy to have won a match here... thank you all." REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
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The last time the American had appeared in a Grand Slam tournament was at the Australian Open in 2017, when she won it while pregnant with daughter Alexis Olympia.

REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

The last time the American had appeared in a Grand Slam tournament was at the Australian Open in 2017, when she won it while pregnant with daughter Alexis Olympia. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

The last time the American had appeared in a Grand Slam tournament was at the Australian Open in 2017, when she won it while pregnant with daughter Alexis Olympia. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
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Williams is now sporting her own superhero outfit as she makes her return to Grand Slam tennis. "I call it like my Wakanda-inspired catsuit. It's really fun," the American laughed, referencing the fictional Sub-Saharan African nation which is home to superhero Black Panther in Marvel Comics. "I feel like a warrior in it, like a warrior princess kind of, queen from Wakanda maybe ... I'm always living in a fantasy world. I always wanted to be a superhero, and it's kind of my way of being a superhero. I feel like a superhero when I wear it."

REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Williams is now sporting her own superhero outfit as she makes her return to Grand Slam tennis. "I call it like my Wakanda-inspired catsuit. It's really fun," the American laughed, referencing the fictional Sub-Saharan African nation which is home to...more

Williams is now sporting her own superhero outfit as she makes her return to Grand Slam tennis. "I call it like my Wakanda-inspired catsuit. It's really fun," the American laughed, referencing the fictional Sub-Saharan African nation which is home to superhero Black Panther in Marvel Comics. "I feel like a warrior in it, like a warrior princess kind of, queen from Wakanda maybe ... I'm always living in a fantasy world. I always wanted to be a superhero, and it's kind of my way of being a superhero. I feel like a superhero when I wear it." REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
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Behind the jokes, there is also a more serious reason for the choice of skin-tight bodysuit outfit for the American who only had her daughter last September.

REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Behind the jokes, there is also a more serious reason for the choice of skin-tight bodysuit outfit for the American who only had her daughter last September. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Behind the jokes, there is also a more serious reason for the choice of skin-tight bodysuit outfit for the American who only had her daughter last September. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
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Williams has spoken about health concerns over blood clots in the days after giving birth, and on Tuesday said: "Yeah, the catsuit, I had a lot of problems with my blood clots, and, God, I don't know how many I have had in the past 12 months ... So it is definitely a little functionality to it. I have been wearing pants in general a lot when I play so I can keep, you know, the blood circulation going. It's a fun suit, but it's also functional so I can be able to play without any problems."

REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

Williams has spoken about health concerns over blood clots in the days after giving birth, and on Tuesday said: "Yeah, the catsuit, I had a lot of problems with my blood clots, and, God, I don't know how many I have had in the past 12 months ... So...more

Williams has spoken about health concerns over blood clots in the days after giving birth, and on Tuesday said: "Yeah, the catsuit, I had a lot of problems with my blood clots, and, God, I don't know how many I have had in the past 12 months ... So it is definitely a little functionality to it. I have been wearing pants in general a lot when I play so I can keep, you know, the blood circulation going. It's a fun suit, but it's also functional so I can be able to play without any problems." REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
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This time there was a little rust to shake off -- she only gave birth in September -- and she didn't quite move as when at her best. But all the same Serena was too strong, too good, simply too Serena for her world 70-ranked opponent Pliskova. It was a match-up that, in some respects, made a mockery of statistics. The American started the match ranked 9,999th in the race to the annual season-ender. Pliskova sits 52nd.

REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

This time there was a little rust to shake off -- she only gave birth in September -- and she didn't quite move as when at her best. But all the same Serena was too strong, too good, simply too Serena for her world 70-ranked opponent Pliskova. It was...more

This time there was a little rust to shake off -- she only gave birth in September -- and she didn't quite move as when at her best. But all the same Serena was too strong, too good, simply too Serena for her world 70-ranked opponent Pliskova. It was a match-up that, in some respects, made a mockery of statistics. The American started the match ranked 9,999th in the race to the annual season-ender. Pliskova sits 52nd. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
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But in the data that counts, Serena is a giant of the tennis court. Her haul of 23 Grand Slam singles crowns beats Steffi Graf's total by one, and is just one shy of Margaret Court's record 24.

REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

But in the data that counts, Serena is a giant of the tennis court. Her haul of 23 Grand Slam singles crowns beats Steffi Graf's total by one, and is just one shy of Margaret Court's record 24. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

But in the data that counts, Serena is a giant of the tennis court. Her haul of 23 Grand Slam singles crowns beats Steffi Graf's total by one, and is just one shy of Margaret Court's record 24. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
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Coming into this tournament her career prize money stood at more than $84 million. That she is currently ranked 451 in the WTA rankings is an irrelevance - more pertinent is that she finished 2017 ranked 22, having played only two events all year.

REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Coming into this tournament her career prize money stood at more than $84 million. That she is currently ranked 451 in the WTA rankings is an irrelevance - more pertinent is that she finished 2017 ranked 22, having played only two events all...more

Coming into this tournament her career prize money stood at more than $84 million. That she is currently ranked 451 in the WTA rankings is an irrelevance - more pertinent is that she finished 2017 ranked 22, having played only two events all year. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
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Next up for the three-times champion is Australian 17th seed Ashleigh Barty. It won't be an encounter Barty will relish. She could be considered the most unlucky of seeds in a Grand Slam, for there can never have been a more dangerous floater in the draw.

REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Next up for the three-times champion is Australian 17th seed Ashleigh Barty. It won't be an encounter Barty will relish. She could be considered the most unlucky of seeds in a Grand Slam, for there can never have been a more dangerous floater in the...more

Next up for the three-times champion is Australian 17th seed Ashleigh Barty. It won't be an encounter Barty will relish. She could be considered the most unlucky of seeds in a Grand Slam, for there can never have been a more dangerous floater in the draw. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
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French Open organizers stick rigidly to the WTA rankings, so would not seed Serena. That is already beginning to look like a mistake Wimbledon -- which allows itself some 'wriggle-room' -- would be wise to avoid repeating.

REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

French Open organizers stick rigidly to the WTA rankings, so would not seed Serena. That is already beginning to look like a mistake Wimbledon -- which allows itself some 'wriggle-room' -- would be wise to avoid repeating. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

French Open organizers stick rigidly to the WTA rankings, so would not seed Serena. That is already beginning to look like a mistake Wimbledon -- which allows itself some 'wriggle-room' -- would be wise to avoid repeating. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
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Serena Williams in action.

REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Serena Williams in action. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Serena Williams in action. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
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Kristyna Pliskova in action.

REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Kristyna Pliskova in action. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Kristyna Pliskova in action. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
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Serena Williams in action.

REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

Serena Williams in action. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

Serena Williams in action. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
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Serena Williams in action.

REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Serena Williams in action. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Serena Williams in action. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
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Serena Williams celebrates winning her first round match at the French Open.

REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

Serena Williams celebrates winning her first round match at the French Open. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

Serena Williams celebrates winning her first round match at the French Open. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
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Serena Williams is interviewed by Marion Bartoli after winning her match against Czech Republic's Kristyna Pliskova.

REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Serena Williams is interviewed by Marion Bartoli after winning her match against Czech Republic's Kristyna Pliskova. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Serena Williams is interviewed by Marion Bartoli after winning her match against Czech Republic's Kristyna Pliskova. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
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