It’s a Christmas surprise for tennis fans! Serena Williams is setting the stage for her return to tennis after maternity leave. She’s getting back on the court in less than a week.
Williams’ first match will be an exhibition against French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi. She and Ostapenko will be the first women ever to play in the traditionally all-male tournament.
She confirmed the news to ESPN on Sunday.
"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. "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."
Williams last played in January 2017 at the Australian Open when she won her 23rd Grand Slam title. She was also eight weeks pregnant at the time.
Fans are definitely ready to see the GOAT — greatest of all time — in tennis return to the court.
"Serena Williams won the Australian open pregnant.— Female Struggles (@FemaleStruggIes) December 21, 2017
Idgaf who you think the greatest athlete ever is. They didn't win a major title pregnant."
It's believed Williams will use this exhibition as a warm-up match in preparation for the Australian Open, which begins on Jan. 15. Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley seems pretty confident Williams will be playing.
"She's got her visa, she's entered, she's practicing and she's probably just got to find a bit more space for a bigger entourage. There's no question that she'll be ready in our view and she wants to break a record that is Margaret Court’s,” he told the Herald Sun. "It would be a pretty significant accomplishment for her to be able to do that."
And we are ready to cheer her on!
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