Serena Williams is starting 2020 with a big win.
The superstar tennis player won the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, in her first title win since she gave birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia, in September 2017.
"Oh, it feels good!" Williams told CNN. "It's been a long time. I think you could see the relief on my face."
Williams, the winner of 23 Grand Slam singles titles, added that the victory "was really important for me, and I just want to build on it. It's just a step towards the next goal."
Williams also announced that she will be donating her $43,000 prize from the tournament to Australian bushfire relief efforts.
On Sept. 1, 2017, the 38-year-old tennis star gave birth to her daughter with husband Alexis Ohanian. Shortly after giving birth via an emergency cesarean section, Williams told Vogue about her post-delivery medical scare.
Williams has a history of blood clots but was unable to take her medication to control them due to the C-section she received. Shortly after, she suffered from a pulmonary embolism, a condition when a blood clot travels to the lungs. The coughing fits caused by the pulmonary embolism resulted in her C-section incision opening. It was then the doctors discovered a hematoma — a swelling of clotted blood — in her abdomen.
The unexpected post-birth traumas left Williams under stress on bed rest for six weeks, causing her to postpone training to get back onto the court and withdraw from the 2018 Australian Open.
Shortly after her Vogue piece went live, she took to Facebook to share her gratitude for the support as well as shine a light on women's health care, especially surrounding pregnancy and related injuries.
“I didn’t expect that sharing our family’s story of Olympia’s birth and all of (my) complications after giving birth would start such an outpouring of discussion from women — especially black women — who have faced similar complications and women whose problems go unaddressed,” she wrote.
Despite her medical hardships, Williams has hit the court hard after recovering from her traumatic childbirth experience. While she didn't add any more Grand Slam titles to her record-breaking 23, Williams has been declared the AP Athlete of the Decade, and has a new title under her belt to start the new decade off strong.
The next stop for Williams is the Australian Open at the end of the month, a tournament she's won seven times in her career.