Serena Williams was preparing to play Naomi Osaka at an Adelaide exhibition tournament on Friday. But first things first after 14 days in quarantine because of the COVID-19 pandemic regulations in Australia, the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion took her daughter to the zoo.
Williams said she’d been crossing off the 14 days of quarantine on a calendar, having spent the time with her three-year-old daughter Olympia.
“We went to the zoo,” Williams said of her first movements outside of quarantine. “I am so glad it’s over because to be in a room (for so long) with a three-year-old and being her best friend is definitely difficult, especially after training and working out.
“Honestly, I wouldn’t trade anything, spending hours and hours and hours with her was really fun.”
The visit must have been a good prematch tonic for Williams. She beat Osaka 6-2, 2-6, 10-7. Both players showed obvious signs of rustiness, hitting set-up winners out of play or netting relatively easy shots.
“Thanks everyone for having us. We honestly haven’t played in front of a crowd for over a year, it’s been a really long time, so this is really cool,” Williams said.
She acknowledged the tough 14-day quarantine restrictions that were in place to allow the Australian Open to take place beginning February 8.
“Thanks for trusting us with your laws, (it) was great,” Williams added. “We were so happy just to be here, and now it’s worth it.”
No. 2 Rafael Nadal beat US Open champion Dominic Thiem 7-5, 6-4 to open night play in Adelaide on hard courts at Memorial Drive.
In an on-court interview following his win, the oft-injured Nadal had a deadpan response when asked how he stays so young-looking at the age of 34. “You are not in my body,” Nadal replied, smiling.