Serena Williams returned to the court for her first competitive match in almost a year with an exhibition loss to Jelena Ostapenko at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
Williams quickly dropped the first set 6-2 against Ostapenko, the French Open champion who is ranked No. 7 in the world rankings. She then rebounded to win the second set 6-3 but quickly fell behind 5-0 while losing the match tiebreaker 10-5.
The 36-year-old American roared back to win the second set 6-3 before losing the decisive tie-break 5-10 in the exhibition match.
Williams admitted her mind wandered to her child, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr, during the match.
“Motherhood is phenomenal. I was a little worried out there and I looked at my camp and I was like ’Is Olympia OK?’. But it’s really good,” she said in her on-court interview.
“I’m excited, it’s good to be back on the court. This was such a good time for me.
“It’s my first time playing in Abu Dhabi so thank you guys for the support. First matches back are always super incredibly hard, especially after having a baby but it was great, I’m glad I could do it here.“
Williams has registered for the Australian Open, which begins on 15 January at Melbourne Park.