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  • Serena Williams, a 23-time majors winner.

    Serena Williams, a 23-time majors winner. | Photo: AFP

Published 28 September 2017

"Serena is an exception to a lot of rules," said U.S. retired player Mary Joe Fernandez.

Chinese tennis great Li Na backed Serena Williams to pull off a quickfire return to tennis after the birth of her first child.

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"Serena can fix everything," Li said, referring to the challenge of being a tennis-playing parent.

Williams, 36, has spoken of her plans to defend her title at the Australian Open in January, less than five months after giving birth to her daughter on Sept. 1.

Asked if she missed tennis, the two-time Grand Slam winner told reporters at the Wuhan Open that she missed the "fight and competition" but that she had left that side of herself behind.

"Now I just follow," said Li, whose daughter is now two along with a baby son.

Other former stars have wondered whether Williams, a 23-time majors winner, would be able to regain top form so soon after having her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian.

Kim Clijsters, who retired for two years and became a mother before returning to win the 2009 US Open, said it depends on "how your body reacts — everybody reacts different in those situations."

U.S. retired player Mary Joe Fernandez also said she could not have played as a mother to young kids but that "Serena is an exception to a lot of rules."

Williams's good friend Caroline Wozniacki said the new mother remained "focused" on her comeback.

"I think she's going to do a strong comeback but I think at the same time she's enjoying being a mum as well and getting that whole experience. I think it's very special," Wozniacki said in Wuhan.

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