Serena Williams Will Return to Competitive Tennis 5 Months After Giving Birth to Daughter

PEOPLE.com Sports 7 months ago

Serena Williams is ready to compete again!

For the first time in more than a year, Williams will be returning to competitive tennis for the Fed Cup, the U.S. Tennis Association announced on Tuesday.

The February tournament will be her first official game since welcoming daughter Alexis Olympia on Sept. 1.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion will play in the first-round matches against the Netherlands in Asheville, North Carolina, on Feb. 10-11.

Helping her defend the country’s Fed Cup championship is her sister Venus Williams. It will be the first time in two years that either Williams sister has been on the team.

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The mother of one was previously scheduled to compete in the Australian Open to defend her title this month but withdrew just 12 days before the start of the tournament. (She lost an exhibition match against French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko on Dec. 30.)

“After performing in my first match after giving birth I realized that although I am super close I’m not where I personally want to be,” Williams announced on Jan. 4.

“My coach and team always said ‘Only go to tournaments when you are prepared to go all the way.’ With that being said I am disappointed to say I’ve decided not to compete in The Australian Open this year,” she said.

WATCH: Serena Williams Withdraws from Australian Open: ‘I’m Not Where I Want to Be’ After Baby’s Birth

In the cover story of Vogue‘s February issue, Williams revealed that she had a medical scare following the birth of her baby girl, developing several small blood clots in her lungs. Though the surgery went well, she battled a pulmonary embolism for six days that led to multiple surgeries and a handful of additional medical troubles.

Famously, Williams nearly broke the Internet with news that she and her now-husband Alexis Ohanian were expecting their first child, noting that she was  “20 weeks” along. Fans quickly did the math, and learned that she would have been about eight weeks pregnant when she won her 23rd Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open last January.

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