The American had shunned the event in Indian Wells after winning her second title there in 2001 after being booed by some fans.
Williams, who beat Kim Clijsters in her last match at the venue, accepted a wild card to enter this year???s tournament.
The reigning Australian Open champion is one of 32 seeded players who received a first-round bye at the joint ATP Masters and WTA tournament in the California desert.
And ahead of her match on Friday against Monica Niculescu, the 33-year-old said she felt it was the right time to return to the event.
“The whole point of me coming back was not to necessarily focus on what happened 14 years ago,” she said.
“It was more to focus on how I felt and that it was the right opportunity for me to come back now. I kind of let that go (what happened in 2001).
???I just felt like, ‘This is time.’
“There’s not one thing that said I should come back, that I should come back in 2015.
???I didn’t even know if I would be playing in this year. I just felt like it was the right time for me to come back here and try to be the best that I can be.”
The 2001 controversy erupted when Serena’s sister Venus pulled out of their semi-final at the last minute because of a sore knee.
Because most of the fans had already taken their seats, some spectators jeered Serena and her family who were sitting in the crowd.