Serena Williams admits her mind wandered to her child, Alexis Olympia, while she was playing her first match since becoming a mother, but was pleased to get back to the court for an exhibition match against Jelena Ostapenko in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
Serena, playing for the first time since her Australian Open title success 11 months ago, and less than four months since delivering her first child, lost a tight match to the current world No. 7, 6-2, 3-6, [10-5] in front of a buoyant Abu Dhabi crowd.
“Motherhood is phenomenal. I was a little worried out there and I looked at my camp and I was like ‘is Olympia okay?’. But it’s really good,” Serena said in her on-court interview.
“I’m excited, it’s good to be back on the court. This was such a good time for me.
“It’s my first time playing in Abu Dhabi so thank you guys for the support. First matches back are always super incredibly hard, especially after having a baby but it was great, I’m glad I could do it here.”
More from Serena here…
Fans at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship have their say on Serena Williams' return to the court in the first-ever women's match at the tournament.
The legendary American made her first appearance since becoming a mother against rising star Jelena Ostapenko at the Zayed Sports City venue in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
Dominic Thiem has confirmed that Spaniard Galo Blanco will be travelling with him in 2018, sharing coaching duties with Gunter Bresnik.
Blanco, who ended his four-year partnership with Russian NextGen star Karen Khachanov last month, also previously worked with Milos Raonic.
Thiem, the current world No. 5, says he spent his preseason in Tenerife accompanied by Blanco, and they were on the practice courts together here in Abu Dhabi.
“He was already with me in Tenerife, and the tournaments where Gunter is not going, he’s going with me,” Thiem said on Saturday, after defeating Pablo Carreno Busta in straights in an exhibition match at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship.
“Or basically he’s at every tournament until the clay-court season. Some he’s sharing with Gunter, the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami. He’s a really, really good coach and I’m happy that I’m travelling with him as well.”