Djokovic all set for return in Abu Dhabi

Serena Williams lost her exhibition match against French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 3-6 10-5 at the International Tennis Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Martin Dokoupil  EPA

Serena Williams was pleased to get back on court despite losing what was her first match in nearly a year, against Jelena Ostapenko, at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

Williams struggled with her serve and Ostapenko won 6-2, 3-6 and then 10-5 in a super tiebreaker, but the American still impressed to take a set off the No. 7-ranked Ostapenko after almost a year away from tennis.

Ostapenko, 20, was just two-years-old when Williams won the first of her 23 grand slam titles in 1999 at the US Open.

The 36-year-old ended her 2017 season early in the year after announcing that she was pregnant and gave birth to her daughter in September.

"I think I lost all three-set matches (after that) besides the match in London, so that was not very good for my confidence - I need confidence to play good tennis".

The 10th edition of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship kicked off today at the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex, with 2 quarter-final matches.

Williams is expected to participate in the 2018 Australian Open in a quest to defend her title. "The first match coming back is always super, incredibly hard especially after having a baby but it's great and I'm glad I could do it here".

Dominic Thiem admits he suffered a "breakdown" in confidence following last year's US Open but the world No. 5 comes to Abu Dhabi for the Mubadala World Tennis Championship with restored self-belief after a solid preseason training block.

"It's too tough. I think everybody can look forward to a great and tense start of the season".

In an on-court interview, Williams talked about her experience as a mother.

Williams' announcement of her exhibition on Saturday dovetails with Tennis Australia's confidence that she will play at Melbourne Park from January 15. But despite also surrendering his world number one ranking during a frustrating year, Murray insists he won't be motivated exclusively by thoughts of Grand Slam glory once he gets back on court. The more I played, the more confident I felt that I would be able to go for shots that I was afraid to go for in the first set.

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