Abu Dhabi: Jelena Ostapenko says she has nothing to lose and everything to gain when she takes on the returning former World No 1 Serena Williams in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. This will also be the first-time women players have played in the Championship.
Williams, who gave birth to her first child in mid-September, announced on Monday she would play French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in an exhibition match on Saturday in Abu Dhabi - her first tournament since becoming pregnant. This will be the first meeting between the two players.
There is no precedent for a 36-year-old 23-time Grand Slam victor to return to tennis after having a baby.More news: Erica Garner, Activist Daughter Of Eric Garner, Dies At 27
"I'm excited. It's good to be back on the court", she said after the match, according to ESPN.
"First matches back are always super incredibly hard, especially after having a baby, but it was great".
"I don't know, but I am definitely looking forward to getting back out there".
The 2018 Australian Open kicks off in almost two weeks with Williams expected to participate. The younger Williams who has 72-career titles has been top of the Women's rankings for 319 weeks and posted her fifth consecutive top-three finish previous year having won at Wimbledon and Rome.More news: Buccaneers to reportedly retain Dirk Koetter for 2018
"Knowing that I have won 23 Grand Slam titles and several other titles, I don't think I have anything more left to prove", she said. It's my first time playing in Abu Dhabi so thank you guys for the support. This was such a good time for me.
"This year has been fantastic for me".
"But if anyone is going to come back after a few months, you wouldn't bet against Serena, that's for sure".
She clinched the set when she showed off fine athleticism to reach a drop shot which caught the top of the net, but then fell short in the decisive match tie-break, too many errors allowing Ostapenko to clinch victory. A sell-out crowd of over 5,000 per day are expected to attend and experience the thrilling on-court action.More news: 'Bundle Up!': Trump Mocks Paris Climate Accord as His Hometown Freezes