Serena Williams started off the year by announcing that she was pulling out from playing in the Australia Open—quite understandably so, since she'd given birth to her first child, her daughter Alexis Olympia, only four months prior. (Playing her first match since giving birth just a week or two earlier was in fact what made Williams realize just how "super close" she felt, but not where she personally wanted to be.)
But this is Serena Williams, the 23-time Grand Slam champion, we're talking about, meaning it took her less than a month—just two and a half weeks—for her to get completely back on track. On Tuesday, the U.S. Tennis Association announced that Williams is set to play her first competitive match in more than a year, joining Team USA in its defense of its Fed Cup crown next month.
She'll also be joining her sister Venus Williams, marking the first time in two years that they've both been on the team, which they've played on together eight times. (All occasions in which, naturally, the U.S. team has never lost.)
Impressive as it may be, Williams's quick return is hardly a surprise to those close to her. Just a month after she gave birth, the Australian Open's tournament director Craig Tiley confidently said at a press conference that "Serena will be back" for the tournament, adding that "we look forward to welcoming her and again go on that journey of breaking the all-time record for the most number of Grand Slams."
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Still, complications did arise that easily could have stalled her return: Williams recently revealed she had a medical scare after giving birth, leading to multiple surgeries for blood cuts she'd developed in her lungs, as well as a pulmonary embolism.
As much as Williams has been fawning over her daughter, though, she also seems determined not to let that get in the way of staying true to her other love: tennis. She was, after all, actually eight weeks pregnant when she last won her 23rd Grand Slam singles title at last year's Australian Open.