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Serena Williams returns to competitive sporting action in Abu Dhabi next week

Serena Williams returns to competitive sporting action in Abu Dhabi next week

Former world number one, Serena Williams, will make her much-anticipated return to competitive sporting action with an exhibition match on the final day of the Mubadala exhibition event on December 30, 2017 tournament.

Williams won the Australian Open 11 months ago but has not played since because of pregnancy and the birth of her first child, Alexis Olympia, in September; and has thus fallen to 22 in the WTA rankings.

The 36-year-old, who has won an Open-era record 23 Grand Slam singles titles, will take on reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.

Serena Williams will face the 20-year-old Latvian, whom she has never played against, in the tournament’s first ever women’s match.

“I am delighted to be returning to the court in Abu Dhabi for the first time since the birth of my daughter,” according to online social media reports.

“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.”

Williams hope to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles at Melbourne Park next month.

The six-strong men’s field in Abu Dhabi features former world number one Novak Djokovic, who will also be making his comeback.

The Serb has not played competitively since his quarter-final loss at Wimbledon in July because of an elbow injury.

The exhibition tournament, which starts December 28, had earlier lost a couple of star attractions, including multiple Grand Slam champions Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka.

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