Serena Williams famously won the 2017 Australian Open while she was 9 weeks pregnant but on Thursday, the 23-tim Grand Slam champ said she won’t be defending her Australian Open title this year.
It has only been 5 months since she gave birth to her first child, daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr. The newly wed to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian turned Snaphcat to share the news, stating in part:
“My coach and team always said ‘only go to tournaments when you are prepared to go all the way’. I can compete – but I don’t want to just compete, I want to do far better than that and to do so, I will need a little more time. With that being said, and even though I am disappointed about it, I’ve decided not to compete in the Australian Open this year.
“The memory of last year’s Open is one that I will carry with me, and Olympia and I look forward to coming back again. I appreciate the support and understanding of my fans and everyone at the Australian Open.”
The tennis tournament begins on the 15th of this month.
The Australian Open tweeted best wishes shortly after her announcement, saying in part: “Good luck for the rest of 2018, Serena! We’ll miss you”
“I can compete – but I don’t want to just compete, I want to do far better than that and to do so, I will need a little more time.”
Good luck for the rest of 2018, Serena! We’ll miss you ?
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 5, 2018
Williams had tried to push it by registering for a tournament last month but didn’t make it out the first round. She lost to French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in an exhibition in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday.
“I don’t think I am going to rate my performance,” Williams said. “I have plenty of comebacks, from injuries, from surgeries, but I’ve never had a comeback after actually giving birth to a human being. So, in my eyes, I feel it was a wonderful, wonderful match for me.”
Williams struggled with her serve and Ostapenko won 6-2, 3-6 and then 10-5 in a super tiebreaker, but as US Open opined, she “still impressed to take a set off the No. 7-ranked Ostapenko after nearly a year away from tennis.”
She can do it and there is a track record for it!
The legendary Margaret Court won three majors after giving birth to her son in 1972. Kim Clijsters won three of her 4 Grand Slams after the birth of her child. Lindsay Davenport won 3 of her 55 Career titles after giving birth to her son. There are at least three other major female players to make mommy comebacks and silence all the critics and naysayers!
Too soon, ma, too soon!