Serena excited for Thursday's return at Indian Wells

Serena Williams returns to the WTA Tour on Thursday after a 14-month absence when she competes in the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, Calif.

Williams gave birth to a daughter in September and hasn't played a professional singles match since winning the Australian Open in January 2017.

She didn't qualify for a first-round bye so she will face Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan in a first-round match on Thursday night at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Williams, 36, expressed excitement over her return in an Instagram post on Wednesday.

"It's official. My comeback is here," Williams wrote. "This Thursday I will start playing tennis again professionally for the first time since giving birth to my daughter. This whole month I am playing tournaments in California and Florida- both my home states.

"Thursday, the day I play my very first match, marks international women's day. My comeback could not have come on a better day."

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Serena Williams in 2018
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Serena Williams in 2018
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 19: Serena Williams is seen at the 2018 Miami Open Hard Rock Stadium Ground Breaking Ceremony at Hard Rock Stadium on March 19, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/WireImage)
INDIAN WELLS, CA - MARCH 12: Venus Williams and Serena Williams pose for a photo before their match against each other during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 12, 2018 in Indian Wells, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
INDIAN WELLS, CA - MARCH 10: Serena Williams ( USA ) hits a backhand the second round of the BNP Paribas Open on March 10, 2018, at the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens in Indian Wells, CA. (Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
INDIAN WELLS, CA - MARCH 08: Serena Williams leaves the court after defeating Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 8, 2018 in Indian Wells, California. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 5: Serena Williams of the United States in action during the Tie Break Tens Tennis Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 5, 2018 New York City. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 5: Venus Williams of the United States and her sister Serena Williams of the United States during the Tie Break Tens Tennis Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 5, 2018 New York City. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
LA QUINTA, CA - MARCH 06: Serena Williams attends 14th Annual Desert Smash Celebrity Tennis Event on March 6, 2018 in La Quinta, California. (Photo by Michael Bezjian/Getty Images for Kelly Howard)
LA QUINTA, CA - MARCH 06: Serena Williams attends 14th Annual Desert Smash Celebrity Tennis Event on March 6, 2018 in La Quinta, California. (Photo by Michael Bezjian/Getty Images for Kelly Howard)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 05: Serena Williams of the United States reacts during her match against Shuai Zhang of China during the Tie Break Tens at Madison Square Garden on March 5, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 05: The United States Women's Olympic hockey team poses with their gold medals and tennis champions Serena Williams anf Venus Williams during the Tie Break Tens at Madison Square Garden on March 5, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
ASHEVILLE, NC - FEBRUARY 11: Serena Williams of Team USA reacts after a shot to Lesley Kerkhove and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands during a doubles match in the first round of the 2018 Fed Cup at US Cellular Center on February 11, 2018 in Asheville, North Carolina. (Photo by Richard Shiro/Getty Images)
ASHEVILLE, NC - FEBRUARY 10: Serena Williams of Team USA, bottom left, along with her husband Alexis Ohanian and their daughter Alexis Olympia, center, watch the action during the first round of the 2018 Fed Cup at US Cellular Center on February 10, 2018 in Asheville, North Carolina. (Photo by Richard Shiro/Getty Images)
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 30 : Serena Williams of United States in action during her Ladies Final match against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia on day three of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship at International Tennis Centre Zayed Sports City on December 30, 2017 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Mahmoud Khaled/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 30 : Serena Williams of United States is seen after her Ladies Final match against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia on day three of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship at International Tennis Centre Zayed Sports City on December 30, 2017 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Mahmoud Khaled/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 30: Serena Williams of United States smiles during her Ladies Final match against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia on day three of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship at International Tennis Centre Zayed Sports City on December 30, 2017 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)
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Williams, who has won 23 Grand Slam titles, played in just one Fed Cup doubles match during her absence. That match was last month.

While she has missed tennis, Williams has enjoyed her new status in life as a mom.

"It's definitely better than I could have ever imagined," Williams said. "I never thought much about it, but it's better than any thoughts I could have had."

Williams recently detailed that she suffered blood clots after the birth of daughter Alexis and was bedridden for six weeks.

--Field Level Media

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