Serena Williams playing first match since giving birth


"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's return raises the prospect of a renewal of her lopsided rivalry with Maria Sharapova of Russian Federation, who had her own comeback this year from a doping ban.

Williams will return with a match against Latvia's French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, making them the first women to compete in the previously male-only event.

After giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia, in September, Williams began the slow process of returning to tennis-related activities. It will be the first time that women championship will be hosted in Abu Dhabi.

Williams was six weeks pregnant when she won the 2017 Australian Open, her career 23rd singles Grand Slam championship.

The championship runs from December 31 to January 2.

More news: Princess Michael apologises for wearing 'racist' brooch during lunch with Meghan Markle

She will play world No 7 Jelena Ostapenko in an exhibition match on Thursday, during the Mubadala World Tennis Championship.

Ostapenko claimed her maiden Slam title at Roland Garros, and has been playing in the Hua Hin exhibition.

The Mubadala World Tennis Championships reclaimed ground after being hit with the withdrawals of Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic as it announced on Sunday that Williams' comeback will start at the invitational event.

This match will be the ideal warm-up for her, as she's likely to compete once again in the Australian Open in January, where she'd be going for her 24th Grand Slam.

Coach Patrick Mouratoglou said in November that no decision had been made over whether Williams would play in the season's first Grand Slam.