ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Serena Williams lost 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.
Williams struggled with her serve and 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 at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship that she is still undecided on her title defense of the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 15, but delivered a warning to rivals.
“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,” Williams said. “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.”
The 36-year-old Williams took time off after winning the Australian Open last January while pregnant. She gave birth to her first child, a girl named Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., on Sept. 1. She married Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian in November.
Williams broke Ostapenko in the first game of her comeback but her own problems with her serve gave the Latvian a way back into the match.
Williams has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, a record for the professional era.