“I am delighted to be returning to the court in Abu Dhabi for the first time since the birth of my daughter in September. The Mubadala World Tennis Championship has long marked the beginning of the men’s global tennis season and I am excited and honored to be making my comeback as part of the first women to participate in the event,” she said.
The 23-time grand slam winner will play against the defending French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in an exhibition match. Williams has not played since winning the 2017 Australian Open while about eight weeks pregnant against her older sister Venus Williams. In addition to giving birth to Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. this year, the tennis champion also tied the knot with her child’s father Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, in an intimate ceremony at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans.
Playing at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship will give Williams a chance to get back into form to defend her title at the Australian Open tournament, which begins on Jan. 15. During her absence from the game, rising tennis powerhouse Sloane Stephens, who is also African American, reached a new milestone in her career by winning the U.S. Open title, her first grand slam win. Williams is currently ranked 22nd in the world.