New mum, Serena Williams on Saturday suffered defeat on her comeback from a maternity break as French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko powered to victory in the “first to ten points” final set at the Mubadala World Championship in Abu Dhabi.
The championship is an exhibition tournament.
The slow moving 36-year-old Williams looked static and far from full fitness just four months after the birth of her first child and Ostapenko, a 20-year-old Latvian, won 6-2, 3-6, 10/5.
“The first match is always really hard after a break,” Williams said.
The 36-year-old American, winner of 23 grand slam single titles, was making a comeback after taking nearly 11 months off to have her first child.
Her last match was the Australian Open final, which she won despite being two-month pregnant.
“It was good to be back out there. I missed playing, I missed competition, I missed the crowd, the atmosphere so much. It was really nice to be back,” said Williams after the match.
“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,” she said, refusing to commit yet to the Australian Open, which starts in a little over two weeks.
“I don’t know, but 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 Patrick (Mouratoglou, her coach) and my team,” she said.
It was the first time Ostapenko had played against Williams, whom she described as her “childhood idol”.