“I just want to go out there and play. I’m not done yet.”

Serena Williams is one of the most instantly recognisable figures in sport, and it’s fair to say she had a pretty huge 2017.

From winning the Australian Open while eight weeks pregnant to getting married and welcoming a daughter, things have been busy.

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We’re very pleased, then, that she chose to close the year out here in the UAE. Williams played her first match after 11 months off the court at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship on Saturday, against Latvian Jelena Ostapenko.

It was the first women’s game to be played at Mubadala, and while Ostapenko won 6-2, 3-6, 10-5, Williams saw it as a good first step back. The 36-year-old told The National it felt good to be back on the court.

“I missed playing, I missed the competition, I missed the crowd, the atmosphere, so it was really nice to be back out there,” she told the paper.

Getting back to the court after giving birth was a different story than other times she’s had away, Williams said.

“I’m just taking it one day at a time… I think being a mother is something incredibly special. I’ve embarked on a really good journey. It’s probably the best journey of my life and I love it so much. It’s pretty awesome,” she told The National. 

“I’ve had a lot of comebacks from surgery, but I’ve never had a comeback from giving birth to a human being. So in my eyes I felt that it was a wonderful, wonderful match for me.”

Williams has been reflecting on her year on Instagram, posting two sets of photos of her 2017 highlights, including the day she found out she was pregnant, attending the Met Gala, and her wedding to Alexis Ohanian.

From the sounds of her interview with The National, she’s in a very good place with her sporting life as well.

“I think everything is so much easier for me to approach having my daughter at home waiting for me. Knowing that, yeah I won 23 grand slam titles and I don’t know how many other titles, basically I don’t have anything to prove. But I just want to go out there and play. I’m not done yet.”

Sure, we’re not all going to be on Williams’ level, but her approach resonates regardless.

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