Serena excited to be back

31 December 2017 04:32:57 GMTPlus11

Serena Williams was excited to be back having completed her first tennis match in 11 months.

The American has not played competitively since she won the Australian Open title in Melbourne back in January.

Williams took time out to have her first child, with daughter Olympia entering the world in September.

Her 11-month exile ended when she played an exhibition match in Abu Dhabi against Jelena Ostapenko, which Williams lost 6-2 3-6 (10-5) against the French Open champion.

Now ranked 22nd in the world, Williams struggled with her movement early in the match and at times failed to find the power normally associated with her serve.

It's good to be back on court, this is such a good time for me.

Serena Williams

She also missed some routine shots but, overall, the 23-time Grand Slam champion was pleased.

"I'm excited. It's good to be back on court, this is such a good time for me," Williams, 36, told Eurosport.

"Motherhood is phenomenal. I was a little worried out there - I looked at my camp and asked, 'Is Olympia OK?"

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tilley has said Williams is "very likely" to defend her title at the 2018 tournament, which starts on 15th January in Melbourne.

The American is 1212/1 to win in Australia. Ostapenko, who stunned Simona Halep to win the final in Paris back in the spring, is 33/1 to win a second Grand Slam in Australia next month.

View all Tennis betting