Serena Williams made an appearance at the 2019 Indian Wells. At the first premier mandatory Tennis event of the season, a place where she had tasted success twice in the past (1999 and 2001), the 37-year-old American saw her bid for a third title coming to an early conclusion.

What seemed like a solid start, in this match against Garbine Muguruza, has quickly turned the other way as a visibly suffering Serena saw her early lead outcompassed. As the first landed into Muguruza's pocket, Serena Williams saw herself forced to abandon. According to ESPN, a viral illness hampered her 2019 Indian Wells bid.

Indian Wells was a perfect opportunity to aim high, but it was also her first official WTA Tour appearance since losing that thriller against Karolina Pliskova at the 2019 Australian Open.

Serena hasn't won a title in more than two years

Aiming to resume her professional tennis career after she had given birth to her daughter was a truly bold decision. She had it all going slow in the first few months but once she put some wins under her belt she was able to produce some high-quality tennis.

Featuring in back-to-back Grand Slam finals, last year at both Wimbledon and US Opens, helped her regain a solid status. Currently ranked tenth in the world, Serena is expected to rise even more in the months leading to Wimbledon as she'll have no pressure in terms of defending last year's results.

Reaching two consecutive Grand Slam finals doesn't come easily to anyone, but being one step away from the big win, before losing, can be disappointing. Serena's last triumph dates back from early 2017 when she captured her 22nd Grand Slam title in singles after a final she won against her older sister Venus.

Where she can be dangerous again

If that viral illness goes away without any further complications, she could be eligible for the next big stop of the WTA calendar which is the Premier Mandatory event in Miami. This upcoming event will wrap up the first chunk of the hard court season. After that, the action moves to Europe for the slow grind of the European red clay season.

Judging by her current level of fitness, Serena's best chance to win a title is when she's playing on a fast surface. If she misses her chance at Miami, she may have to wait a little longer for the next opportunity. At this point, it hard to see her as a favorite for the clay court tournaments, and, by extension, the French Open.

Once the grass season will kick off, she could easily be moved back inside the favorite's box. And she will have the whole summer to improve on last year's results from Wimbledon and the US Open. After all, that elusive 23rd Grand Slam singles title is the reason she came for in the first place.