Rafael Nadal withdraws from Abu Dhabi season opener

Serena set to return to tennis in Abu Dhabi exhibition against Ostapenko

Serena Williams to make comeback in Abu Dhabi next week

During her time off the court, Williams gave birth to Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. and married her daughter's father, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, in November.

Williams last played professionally last January at the Australian Open, winning her 23rd Grand Slam while pregnant.

New mother Serena Williams is heading back out on the tennis court for her first match since giving birth to her daughter in September.

Any doubt that Serena Williams would not be back in time for the start of the 2018 tennis season was all but erased on Sunday morning, when the 23-time Grand Slam champion essentially delivered an early Christmas present for her fans. Her participation signals her intent to play in Australia after the recent birth of her first child.

The G.O.A.T., a.k.a. Serena Williams, is set to play Sat. Dec. 31, 2017 at the Mubadala exhibition event in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.

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The Mubadala event had already seen men's world number one Rafael Nadal and three-time Grand Slam victor Stan Wawrinka withdraw.

I am excited and honoured to be making my comeback as part of the first women to participate in the event, Williams added.

Ostapenko, 20, broke through with a stunning French Open title, and she will take on Serena Williams for the first time.

Sport reports that Williams, 36, will make her big comeback next week at an exhibition match in Abu Dhabi, playing world number 7 Jelena Ostapenko from Latvia. "She's not only an incredible champion, she's a role model for millions of athletes all over the world and she joins Jelena in offering the UAE a match worthy of grand slam heritage right in the center of Abu Dhabi".

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