On Tennis: Serena Williams Loses in a Low-Stake Return at the Fed Cup

Williams’s daughter was born in September after an emergency cesarean section, and Williams experienced serious complications after the birth and did not return to the practice court until December, after her wedding to Alexis Ohanian. She played and lost an exhibition match on Dec. 30 in Abu Dhabi against Jelena Ostapenko before deciding not to defend her Australian Open title.


Serena Williams, left, and her sister Venus lost their match, but the United States had already clinched a victory against the Netherlands in their first-round tie.

Erik S. Lesser/European Pressphoto Agency

Tracy Austin, the former No. 1 who is now a Tennis Channel analyst, watched both that loss and Sunday’s closely.

“Serena served a lot better today than she did in Abu Dhabi,” Austin said in an interview Sunday. “She obviously has come back from layoffs before, but she has not come back from a maternity leave and a C-section with complications at age 36. So I’m sure she understands she needs time.”

Williams said she was still learning how to manage traveling with a baby, but…

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