Returning Australian Defending Champion Serena Williams lost her first comeback match on her return to competitive tennis after giving birth, going down to French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in an exhibition in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday.
Asked to rate her own performance after the loss, Williams declined, saying: “I don’t think I am going to rate my performance,” she said.
She also added: “I have plenty of comebacks, from injuries, from surgeries, but I’ve never had a comeback after actually giving birth to a human being. So, in my eyes, I feel it was a wonderful, wonderful match for me.”
Apparently still rusty, Williams, whose service is rated as a nightmare for opponents in the past, struggled with her serving as Ostapenko won 6-2, 3-6 and then 10-5 in a super tiebreaker, but the American still impressed to take a set off the No. 7-ranked Ostapenko after nearly a year away from tennis.
Williams said after the 67-minute match that she was still undecided about her title defence at the Australian Open, which is scheduled to kick off by January 15. She warned her rivals that she would still make another comeback after consulting with her team.
“I don’t know if I am totally ready to come back on the tour yet. I know that when I come back I definitely want to be competing for championships. I am definitely looking forward to getting back out there.
‘I am taking it one day at a time. I am going to assess everything with my team before deciding,” Williams explained.
It would be recalled that Williams, 36, who won the Australian Open in January while pregnant, took time off after the tournament to have her baby girl whom she gave birth to on September 1 and named Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr before marrying her long-time partner, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian last month.