Serena Williams was “excited to be back” after completing her first match since giving birth fourth months ago.
The exhibition contest in Abu Dhabi against Jelena Ostapenko was the American’s first match for 11 months.
Williams struggled with her movement at first but played some fine shots in a 6-2 3-6 (10-5) defeat.
Asked about the likelihood of defending her title at the Australian Open, which starts on 15 January, Williams said she was “taking it one day at a time”.
Ranked 22nd in the world, she would not need a wildcard to play in the first Grand Slam tournament of the new season.
“I’m going to assess everything with (coach) Patrick (Mouratoglou) and my team and go from there,” she added.
“I don’t know if I’m totally ready yet or not. When I come back, I definitely want to be competing for championships.