Serena-Venus blockbuster headlines day 1 action

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"I think we can only go up from here and that's our plan", Venus said after defeating the victor of 23 Grand Slam titles.

The WTA announced that players returning to the tour may use a special ranking for up to three years after the birth of a child, and the exemption can be used for seedings at big events. The American player, who keeps competing at a high level at 37 years of age, said: 'I did a lot of hard work to get where I am in tennis.

"It is great. Women who are younger can go out there and have kids".

Meanwhile, Venus also hailed the new rule and said: "Things are changing as people are realising that you can have a family and still play tournaments".

"I think it's great", said Williams who gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia in September 2017 and returned to action in February 2018.

I think I beat Spirlea in the round before round.

"I think having gone through the experience myself really opened my eyes up to me and, 'Would have I done it sooner had there been different rule changes?' I don't know".

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"The championship offers the ideal opportunity to fine-tune my preparations ahead of the Australian Open and I'm really looking forward to competing there again".

Serena Williams believes that she is in good shape heading into the 2019 season following a workout in an exhibition match against sister Venus at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship.

I was just happy to be there.

Japan's Osaka won the final 6-2, 6-4 after a match which saw Williams warned for coaching, penalized a point for smashing her racket and then docked a game for an outburst in which she called the umpire, Carlos Ramos, a "thief" and a "liar".

During a promotional event in Abu Dhabi, where she is expected to play an exhibition match, Serena said that it's a great rule.

Williams twice missed out on a chance to tie Court's mark in 2018, losing both the Wimbledon and US Open finals in the span of the last six months.