By Simon Cambers
NEW HAVEN, Connecticut, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Lindsay Davenport said she was delighted to be back after making her return to competitive tennis at the WTA event in New Haven on Wednesday, just 10 weeks after the birth of her first child.
But the former world number one was beaten in her comeback match as she and fellow American Lisa Raymond lost 6-7 6-3 10-4 (champions tiebreak) to the world's top-ranked pair, Cara Black and Liezel Huber.
"It was fun to be back," Davenport told reporters.
"I felt good. I was excited to go out there and play. I thought I played pretty well considering it's been a year and obviously I've been through a lot."
The 31-year-old Davenport was playing her first competitive match since September 2006 and is planning to make her singles return in Bali next month, with a view to playing a full schedule in 2008.
The former Wimbledon, U.S. Open and Australian Open champion said she had decided to come back because she still believed she can compete at the highest level.
"I'm back because I felt, why not?" she said.
"I feel like I still am very good at my job and having a child doesn't mean you have to abandon your career.
"I plan to play one or two singles tournaments (in the autumn), see how it goes, work in the off-season and hopefully the body's ready to go at a higher level next year."
Davenport said she knew that her comeback will not be entirely plain-sailing.
"Getting those instincts back is the hardest part. Every week I feel I get better at it, but it's still a distance away from where it was when I was at the top or even when I left the game.
"There's not much I can do but practice and play matches. I'm going to have to take my lumps and that might include some losses along the way, but that's the road back, it's uphill.
"I can't say definitively that I'm going to play, like, 15 tournaments next year. I'm waiting to see what happens.
"I feel like I have to get in better shape still. It's only been 10 weeks still and I feel like I've made a lot of progress but I have a lot of work to do and I hope my body allows me to come back and play next year."
Raymond said she was confident Davenport could be a force at the top of the game again.
"I think Lindsay's one of the best strikers of the ball ever to play the game," she said.
"I'm sure that once she gets her feet under her and gets a couple of months of playing under her belt, she's a contender for a grand slam (title) again, there's no doubt"