The 36-year-old's preparations for Roland Garros have prompted a debate over whether she should have been given a special dispensation and been seeded for the tournament. But after a period of training, coach Patrick Mouratoglou last week told the WTA tour website, "Serena will play the French Open to win it".
Without a seeding, Williams will have to go head-to-head against tennis' top players early into the competition, putting at risk her chances for a title.
However, this will be her first appearance at a major since winning last year's Australian Open. It's about protecting the field too.
Top seed and two-time runner-up Simona Halep faces Alison Riske of the United States in her opener while second seed and Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki starts against another American, Danielle Collins.
"Having enjoyed the success I had over the last couple of weeks helps to be here with a bit more confidence", Nadal said at the draw.
The WTA released a statement saying it would review its existing rules to extend protections to include a player's seed up to a certain level. In January, she revealed just how hard her childbirth and adjustment to motherhood was, opening the door to public discussion that many believed was long overdue.
While she was No. 1 when she left the tour to give birth, Williams is now ranked No. 453. "The rule is now under further review as part of our 2019 rules process". Serena, who was ranked No. 1 before giving birth in 2017, is now ranked at No. 453.
"So I think there's a number of different areas like child care, like some type of financial payment if they are out of the game for a period of time and the protection in regards to that". The daughter of the derided president, Donald Trump, said the supposed punishment she suffered was wholly unfair. "She was my idol since I was growing up".
When the draw was announced Thursday, it appeared that Williams caught something of a break.
"It's not like you decide to take a year off".