Serena Williams considers her return to competitive tennis last year as something that went beyond her expectations.
Williams, who reached the final at the Wimbledon and US Open, said to The National on the sidelines of her first tournament in the lead-up to the 2019 season, the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, she had an unbelievable 2018.
The American had taken a break from tennis after winning the 2017 Australian Open for her pregnancy and birth of her daughter but she returned back in 2018 at the Fed Cup. Her first major was at Roland-Garros where she made the fourth round but it was followed by the finals at the next two Grand Slams.
And while Williams lost to Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon and Naomi Osaka at the US Open, she reckons she had surpassed her own expectations.
“Honestly, I cannot believe the year I had. I have to say I always expect the best from myself, but reaching two grand slam finals back to back was beyond my expectations.”
And now she will return to the Mubadala World Tennis Championship for the second time in as many years and take on her sister Venus in a one-off exhibition match. Last year she had featured in this tournament too, playing the then-French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko.
Following that, Serena will hope to make it her eighth title win at the first major of the year in Melbourne in January, which would get her her 24th Grand Slam title, the same as Margaret Court’s record for the most by a women’s tennis player.
The Mubadala World Tennis Championship will kick-start on Thursday this week with Serena playing Venus on the first day of the tournament. That match will be preceded by two men’s singles matches, whose winners will play Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic respectively in the semi-finals on Friday. The men’s singles final and the third-place match will be played on Saturday.