What an eventful, unforgettable year it has been for Williams. The American won the Australian Open in January while pregnant, gave birth to her first child about four months ago — daughter Alexis Olympia — and got married to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian in New Orleans last month.
Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou told CNN in November that a decision hadn’t been made yet as to whether she would compete at next month’s Australian Open although Melbourne tournament director Craig Tiley has twice said he expects the 36-year-old to show up at the season’s first major.
And that could very well be the case after it was announced that Williams would be making her comeback at a lucrative exhibition in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 30 against French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko.
“I am delighted to be returning to the court in Abu Dhabi for the first time since the birth of my daughter in September,” Williams told the exhibition’s web site.
Despite not playing since January, no one would rule out the now 22nd-ranked Williams winning in Australia if she is in the draw. Williams, after all, could be the greatest tennis player of all time.
Collecting a 24th grand slam title would see Williams tie controversial Australian Margaret Court for the all-time grand slam lead, women or men.