Serena Williams made a dramatic return to tennis in 2018.
Six months after giving birth to her first child, the 23-time Grand Slam champion was back playing competitive tennis. Fast-forward another six months and she had reached two Grand Slam finals.
The second of those finals, a straight sets defeat to Japan’s first major winner Naomi Osaka, was shrouded in controversy with Williams infamously clashing with umpire Carlos Ramos, labelling him a ‘liar’ and a ‘sexist’.
Her row with the chair umpire may have left an unsavoury taste in the mouth, but the 37-year-old American looked back on a remarkable year with pride.
“Honestly, I cannot believe the year I had,” she told The National.
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“I have to say I always expect the best from myself, but reaching two grand slam finals back to back was beyond my expectations.
“It truly makes me excited for what’s ahead in 2019.”
Williams’ first competitive event next year will be the Australian Open – a tournament she was not featured at since beating her sister Venus to the title when eight weeks pregnant back in 2017.
But she wouldn’t give much away with regards to her goals for the next season, with Margaret Court’s all-time Grand Slam record within her grasp.
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“I always have crazy big goals but I like to keep them to myself,” Williams added.
“I think keeping them a bit of a secret helps me do the best I can.”
The seven-time Wimbledon champion will face off with her sister once more in Abu Dhabi this week, with the pair booked in at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship on 27 December.
Williams will then travel to Perth for the Hopman Cup, where Australian fans will be treated to her taking on Swiss legend Roger Federer in mixed doubles.