Serena Williams won her first singles match since last year’s French Open, defeating world No. 57 Nuria Parrizas Diaz in the first round in Toronto.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion, whose long-awaited comeback from injury this year ended in an early exit from Wimbledon, won 6-3 6-4 in just under two hours at the National Bank Open.

It was the first time Williams, 40, had won a singles match in just her second match of the year after defeating Danielle Collins at Roland Garros on June 4, 2021.

Afterwards, explaining her motivation to keep playing, she said: “I guess there’s just light at the end of the tunnel.

“I don’t know, I’m getting closer to the light. It’s been for me lately. I can’t wait to get to that light.”

When asked what the light represents, she answered: “Freedom. I love to play though, so it’s amazing. But, you know, I can’t do this forever. So sometimes you just want to do your best to enjoy the moment and do the best you can.”

Wimbledon champion Alena Rybakina also won her first match since her triumph at the All England Club, although she needed three hours to overcome Marie Buzkova 7-5 6-7 6-1.

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