Serena Williams Lost First Match After Comeback From Maternity

Serena Williams Pull Out From 2018 Italian Open

Serena Williams admitted her return to tennis was “super hard” as she lost what was her first match in almost a year, against Jelena Ostapenko, at the World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi.

It was Williams’ first outing since winning her 23rd grand slam singles title at the Australian Open last January – while pregnant – before taking time out to have the baby.

She failed to fully rediscover her rhythm and quickly dropped the first set 2-6 to the Latvian Ostapenko, the French Open champion.

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.