MADRID – Tennis fans were elated on Monday to learn that American tennis idol Serena Williams would soon be returning to the courts after almost a year of absence due to maternity.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion is to participate in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 30 against French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.
“I am delighted to be returning to the court in Abu Dhabi for the first time since the birth of my daughter in September,” Williams said in a statement on Sunday.
“The Mubadala World Tennis Championship has long marked the beginning of the men’s global tennis season and I am excited and honored to be making my comeback as part of the first women to participate in the event,” she added. “I look forward to seeing the fans in Abu Dhabi at the 10th edition of the Championship very soon.”
Since the Australia Open held in Jan. 2017, the 36-year-old has not played a match, as she became pregnant with a girl who was born last September.
Williams’ participation in Abu Dhabi’s first women’s match and in the 2018 Australian Open has raised people’s expectations of a strong return in 2018.