Serena Williams sent fans an early Christmas present when it was announced she would take on Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko at the upcoming Mubadala World Tennis Championship on December 30.
“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 said in a statement.
“The Mubadala World Tennis Championship has long marked the beginning of the men’s global tennis season and I am excited and honoured to be making my comeback as part of the first women to participate in the event. I look forward to seeing the fans in Abu Dhabi at the 10th edition of the Championship very soon.”
For the first time in the history of #MWTC, we’re bringing you two of the world’s best female players! #MWTC10 will see 23-time Grand Slam champion @serenawilliams making her comeback against the 2017 #rolandgarros Champion Jelena Ostapenko, as they play each other on Day 3! pic.twitter.com/S3uWvxkpa5
— MWTC (@MubadalaTennis) December 24, 2017
Williams last took the court to claim a record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, outlasting sister Venus in straight sets to surpass Stefanie Graf's Open Era total. The American went on to marry husband Alexis Ohanian and give birth to her first child, daughter Alexis Olympia.
Hopes were boosted of a 2018 return when Williams' name appeared on the upcoming Australian Open entry list, and will now take part in Abu Dhabi's first women's match in the tournament's history.