Former world number one Serena Williams made her return to competitive tennis five months after giving birth as she teamed up with sister Venus for the US team in the Fed Cup.
In what was a last-minute change to the billing as the Americans had already won the tie against the Netherlands, the pair lost the dead doubles rubber 6-2 6-3.
But this was never about the scoreline, as demonstrated by the standing ovation and loud cheers that welcomed back the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion.
And among those in the sell-out crowd in Asheville, North Carolina was baby Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.
“It’s great. It’s her first match so I’m glad she got to see it,” Serena said in an on-court interview.
Serena, playing her first competitive match since winning the 2017 Australian Open while eight weeks pregnant, had been scheduled to partner Lauren Davis for the match against Lesley Kerkhove and Demi Schuurs.
But with the US having already booked their spot in April’s semi-finals, captain Kathy Rinaldi made the popular decision to pair up the Williams sisters, who have won 14 Grand Slam doubles titles together.
Serena, 36, had already postponed her return this year, missing the Australian Open in January to give her more time to recover from the birth.
She had revealed she was bedridden for six weeks and had to have surgery after her daughter was delivered by emergency caesarean section.
She said last week that she had not yet decided whether she will compete at this year’s remaining three Grand Slams.