Serena Williams is back!
The 23-time grand slam champion took part in an exhibition match on Saturday, her first match back since giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia less than four months ago in September.
Williams played against Jelena Ostapenko in Abu Dhabi, where she lost 6-2, 3-6, [10-5] to the world No. 7. It was her first match since winning the Australian Open while pregnant in January, and husband Alexis Ohanian was oh-hand to support his wife for her big return.
Ostapenko was a surprise winner of the 2017 French Open this year.
“I’m excited, it’s good to be back on the court,” Williams said during her on-court interview following the match, Sports360 reports. “This was such a good time for me.”
See photos from Serena Williams’ return:
“It’s my first time playing in Abu Dhabi so thank you guys for the support,” she continued. “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.”
Williams’ daughter wasn’t in attendance on Saturday, and she admitted during her post-match interview that she was still on her mind while she was playing.
“Motherhood is phenomenal,” she said. “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.”
Though the exhibition on Saturday represented Williams’ long-awaited return to the court, it wasn’t an official competitive tour match. Serena is entered to compete in next month’s 2018 Australian Open, though she’s also slated for a speaking engagement in Florida during the tournament, stirring speculation that she may not play in Melbourne.
Williams has been teasing her return to the WTA Tour on social media since giving birth to her daughter, sharing a handful of photos from her on-court training sessions.
See more photos of Serena Williams through the years: