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"I am delighted to be returning to the court in Abu Dhabi for the first time since the birth of my daughter", Williams, referring to her daughter Alexis, said in a statement on the tournament's official website.

"To do well here would be an fantastic feeling but I'm not going to weigh my whole year and rest of career on the next three, four weeks", she said.

There is no precedent for a 36-year-old 23-time Grand Slam victor to return to tennis after having a baby. "I've never had surgery in my life, I've never had any major injuries that kept me away from the tour for such a long time", Djokovic said.

Djokovic has added Radek Stepanek to his new coaching team spearheaded by American great Andre Agassi.

"I've learnt a lesson because I really want to avoid getting to that stage of an injury ever in my career after this", Djokovic added.

"And it was a somewhat necessary experience because I got maybe too comfortable with not having major injuries".

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Djokovic was not the only big-name player who suffered serious injuries last season.

'It allows all of us players to kind of check where we are with our game and in competition play.

Day one of the men's draw will see US Open semi-finalist Pablo Carreno Busta taking on South African Kevin Anderson at 5pm followed by Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut facing off against 20-year-old Russian Andrey Rublev at 7pm.

Djokovic opens his campaign on Friday against the victor of the match between Bautista Agut and Rublev.

However, Djokovic has had a full pre-season schedule and is set to return to play in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi before preparing for the Australian Open next month. Serena Williams and her husband got married in November, for which Alexis has taken paternity leave for forming a bond with the baby.

Williams has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, a record for the professional era.


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