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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 April 2019

Serena Williams and sister Venus aim to continue flying flag for women's sport in Abu Dhabi

The Americans face each other in an exhibition match at Zayed Sports City on Thursday as part of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship

Serena Williams hopes that Thursday's exhibition match with sister Venus at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship will help promote the women's game across the world.

The 23-time grand slam champion, who competed in the first women's match at MWTC last year against Jelena Ostapenko, said she was glad to be back in the capital and to be able to share the spotlight with her older sibling.

"It is great being able to do anything with Venus, especially coming here," the American, 37, said.

"We have done so much for women's sport, and sport period, so it is really great to continue our journey and bring it here to Abu Dhabi."

Last year's match with Ostapenko at Zayed Sports City, which Serena lost on a champions tiebreak, was her first time on court since giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia in September 2017.

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Read more on MWTC:

Day 1 preview: Williams sisters showdown as Serena takes on Venus

Kevin Anderson: I want to face Nadal and Djokovic at Mubadala World Tennis Championship

MWTC: Complete player guide as Djokovic, Nadal and Serena Williams head to Abu Dhabi

Thiem aiming to continue his great form in 2018 at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship

The Serena Williams interview: Taking on older sister Venus is 'the ultimate rivalry'

Rafael Nadal ready to get 'best preparation' for 2019 season at Mubadala World Tennis Championship

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On returning to the UAE, she said: "A lot has changed for me. I had a wonderful year, which I did not expect, and I am now back here and this is a good kick off to my year."

The immediate target for Serena is a 24th grand slam title, which would see her equal Margaret Court's record for most major singles titles won by a woman.

She fell short in the final at both Wimbledon and the US Open this year, and is aware she will need to find her best form to get that historic win, with her next opportunity being at the Australian Open in January.

"It is something I clearly want but I have to be able to get there; I am going to have to beat a lot of good tennis players to get there," she said.

Serena has not played competitively since her meltdown in her US Open final loss to Naomi Osaka in September, but said she is in good shape for 2019.

"Feeling good," she said. "It has been a couple of months of training now, so I am getting ready for the new year."

Updated: December 27, 2018 03:56 PM

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