Serena Williams has vowed to make amends after missing the Dubai Tennis Championships a year ago due to a last-second injury withdrawal.
The top seed at the Gulf event may even have a hint of a guilty conscience after citing back pains which came shortly before she was to have taken to the court in her opening match.
This time Williams, 32, who continues to insist that retirement plays no part in her current mindset, believes things can be different at the Aviation Club.
“I really wanted to play here after pulling out in 2013,” said Williams, who reached two semi-finals at the hardcourt venue.
“My goal is to lift the trophy, but we will see how my back feels.”
Her first match after a bye will come against the winner from Russians Alisa Kleybanova and Ekaterina Makarova.
Williams only made a late entry into the field as a wild card after deciding that the back problem suffered at the Australian Open during a fourth-round loss to Ana Ivanovic had healed enough for her to test it in competition.
“I get bored training, I’d much rather play a match,” the 17-time grand slam champion said after confirming that she will partner sister Venus in the doubles to get more matches after playing only eight times so far in 2014.
“My back feels better than it did in Australia, I still have to take it a day at a time. I’ll do my best this week, but my goal is to lift the trophy. I always set higher goals, I always want to improve.”
The world number one said that she can put no timetable on her career: “Age is not catching up to me.
“This generation is playing longer, I think racquet and fitness technology have something to do with it. We know what we have to do in the gym.”