Serena Williams Loses First Post-Maternity Match 4 Months After Giving Birth

On Saturday, Serena Williams faced off against Jelena Ostapenko in an exhibition match at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi

Photo: Tom Dulat/Getty Images

With a new husband and new baby, Serena Williams has a lot to celebrate. Unfortunately, a win at her first tennis match back after almost a year isn’t one of them.

On Saturday, the 36-year-old athlete faced off against French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, 20, in an exhibition match at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi.

According to the Associated Press, Williams struggled with her serve in the first match, Ostapenko trumping her 6-2. She rebounded in the second, winning 3-2, but ended up losing in a super tiebreaker, 10-5.

Serena Williams/Instagram:

Though she lost, Williams remained in good spirits. “It’s good to be back on the court,” Williams said after the match, ESPN reported. “This was such a good time for me. First matches back are always super-incredibly hard, especially after having a baby. It was great. I was glad I could do it here.”

It helped that husband (and Reddit co-founder) Alexis Ohanian, 34, was there cheering her on. “Mama is back in the office,” he gushed on Instagram on Saturday, alongside a photo of Williams signing tennis balls for fans.

Saturday’s match was the first competitive game Williams has played since she won her 23rd Grand Slam title (when she was eight weeks pregnant) at the 2017 Australian Open in January. She is expected to defend her title at the Australian Open next month.

Earlier this month, the star returned to the court, marking her first public tennis appearance since giving birth to 3-month-old daughter Alexis Olympia.

Serena Williams/Instagram

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Alexis helped her mom prepare for Saturday’s big match, too.

On Christmas day, Williams shared some adorable videos on Snapchats of her and her daughter watching old tennis videos together .Williams also shared a picture of her and Alexis Olympia on Instagram with a special Christmas filter that added poinsettia garlands to their hair.

It’s been a whirlwind of a year for the tennis superstar, who gave birth in September and tied the knot with new husband Alexis Ohanian just two months later. Their weddings guests included stars like Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland and Kim Kardashian West.

Williams has been open with her fans of social media about motherhood, seeking advice on issues from teething to breastfeeding.

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