Serena Williams was “excited to be back” after completing her first match since giving birth fourth months ago.
The exhibition match 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.
Australian Open director Craig Tilley has said Williams is “very likely” to defend her title at the 2018 tournament, which starts on 15 January.
Ranked 22nd in the world, Williams would not need a wildcard to play in the first Grand Slam tournament of the new season.
“I’m excited. It’s good to be back on court, this is such a good time for me,” Williams, 36, told Eurosport.
“Motherhood is phenomenal. I was a little worried out there – I looked at my camp and asked, ‘Is Olympia OK?”