Serena Williams; Motherhood And Professionalism On Loggerheads


Serena Williams ’ return to the U . S . Open for the first time since becoming a mother will be an emotional experience, not least because her daughter Alexis -Olympia ’s first birthday is right in the middle of the tournament.
Serena will have the fans firmly behind her in New York and the 36 - year- old is also the bookmakers’ favorite to win a 24 th Grand Slam title and equal Australian Margaret Court ’s record haul after the American ’s run to this year ’s Wimbledon final .
The number 17 seed has spoken openly about the challenges she has faced trying to combine being a mum and a professional tennis player, and 18 - times Grand Slam winner Chris Evert says Serena must find a way to channel her emotions on court.
“ To turn the switch on and off (between being a tennis player and a mother ) is very difficult , and that ’s what Serena’s trying to navigate ,” Evert , who will be part of ESPN ’s coverage of the U . S . Open in New York , said on a conference call .
“ She ’s never had this nurturing feeling … before . It doesn’t switch on and off . Even if it ’s not consciously there when she ’s on court, it ’s in the back of her mind and it will creep in once in a while because she ’s not a robot. ”
Serena ’s first tournament after Wimbledon ended in the heaviest defeat of her career when she was thrashed 6 - 1 6- 1 by Britain’s Johanna Konta in San Jose and the six- times U . S . Open champion also made an early exit in Cincinnati this month .
There is little doubt , however , about her ability to raise her game when the occasion demands it , and an indomitable spirit makes her the most fearsome opponent in the women ’s game .
“ I know one thing , never underestimate Serena ,” former player Brad Gilbert said on the same call as Evert . “ If she can get through the first week… she becomes a different player . ”
One knock- on effect of Serena ’s maternity leave is that she has lost some of her aura of invincibility, with opponents now more likely to try and take the game to her.
“ Two years ago when people took the court against her, they were just hoping not to get beat 6- 1 6 - 1 . They were 4 - 0 ( down) out of the tunnel, and these top five and top 10 players would get blown out before even walking on the court,” Gilbert added.
“ Every great player in the history of the game builds up equity by crushing people , and then all of a sudden when that doesn’t happen… people ( think) you know what , I have a chance today . ”
If Serena triumphs she will move past the record number of U .S . Open titles she shares with Evert , and add her name to the ranks of Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong and Kim Clijsters as the only mothers to win Grand Slams in the professional era.
“ Even more than the physical part, the emotional part is the toughest one to try to figure out for Serena to be successful … and also to feel guilt - free that she ’s spending enough time with her child ,” Evert added.
Serena ’s career as a working mother has only just begun but she is clear about her priorities off and on the court.
“ For me, being around her (Alexis -Olympia ) every day is super important . I want her to have just a great upbringing , the best way I know how ,” she told the Today show this week.
“ I ’m still trying to compete and win Grand Slams, and most of all , do it while I have a daughter. ”
Serena Williams; Motherhood And Professionalism On Loggerheads Serena Williams; Motherhood And Professionalism On Loggerheads Reviewed by Youngblogger on 16 September Rating: 5

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