Over the New Year’s weekend, Serena Williams played her first match in a year. She had not played in any kind of tournament or exhibition since she won the Australian Open while 8-9 weeks pregnant in January 2017. She gave birth to baby Alexis Olympia on September 1st, then she married Alexis Ohanian a few months later. She posted videos where it seemed like she was still playing tennis while pregnant, but she’s been busy with other stuff since September, obviously.
Anyway, she went to Abu Dhabi for an exhibition – and I would imagine it came with a HUGE paycheck – and she lost to 2017 French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko. It was actually a fun vibe – Ostapenko wasn’t going for the jugular, and she clearly idolizes Serena, and Serena’s groundstrokes and shots looked good. She just seemed rusty. She’s still scheduled to play the Australian Open in less than two weeks, and this Abu Dhabi exhibition is the only “tune-up” event on her schedule. My guess is that Serena will make it a few rounds in Melbourne, but she won’t really get going until Miami, probably. And maybe Wimbledon? That’s my hope. Here are some highlights from the exhibition:
To celebrate the new year, Serena posted some Instagram slideshows to take stock of how much had changed for her in one year. All of this is incredibly cute. I’m not even a baby person and I want to cuddle baby Olympia. She’s so beautiful!!
This year has been amazing for me. As it comes to its end I want to share 10 personal moments. 1. The day I found out I was pregnant. I had to pretend I everything was normal but I was dying inside. After all I had a grand slam to play. 2. Melbourne 7 weeks pregnant 3. Wow I won the Australian Open. I was 9 weeks by than. No one knew outside of venus and my fiancé Alexis 4. Everyone got me stuffed animals for my bridal shower. 5. 24 weeks. 6. bridal shower by @thevlvgroup 7. still hitting at 7.5 weeks 8. @vanityfair cover of the year for me 9. Just about ready to pop 10. The day before I checked into hospital to have my amazing baby
I would like to share another top ten moment of this year. Featuring my husband. He's my rock my backbone my love. I am so lucky to have found this wonderful man that treats me better than a queen. 1. This is where he proposed to me all the way in Rome. At the exact same table we met. 2. He puts up with my incorrigible immaturity 😜 3. I said yes 💍 4. Our first trip as a engaged couple. Little did we know I was 4 weeks pregnant! 😰😳😳 5. Getting ready for the Met Gala 6. Both of us in our @versace_official finest for the Met gala 7. Our baby moon 8. You may now kiss the bride. 9. Alexis first introduce me as his wife 😍😍 10. King and Queen at last. I love you Alexis you make me excited to wake up every morning knowing I'll get to see you. Wedding photos by Mel Barlow and Allan Zepeda @melbarlowandco @allanzepedaphotography
Photos courtesy of Serena’s Instagram.