Serena Williams has won her first professional tennis tournament as a mom this weekend when she triumphed at the World Tennis Association‘s Auckland Classic on Sunday.
It was 2017 when she last won a WTA title, the Australian Open against her sister and back then, she was weeks pregnant with her now 2-year old daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr with her husband Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.
This triumph marks her 73rd WTA championship title and also means she has been mounting tournaments for four decades, after capturing her first title in 1999 at the US Open against Martina Hingis.
Williams announced plans to give back to Australia during her winner’s speech.
“I’ve been playing in Australia for over 20 years and it’s been really hard for me to watch all the news and everything that has been happening in Australia with all the fire and… animals and people that have lost their homes,” she said. “I decided at the beginning of the tournament… I’d donate all my prize money for a great cause.”
With this win, she finally silences the naysayers who believe that pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood signal the end of a sportswomen’s career.
Although she is the most accomplished tennis champ since 1968 when the WTA only permitted professionals to compete, she still faces the final hurdle of earning her 25th Grand Slam title in the so called “Open Era” when amateurs were allowed to compete in Grand Slams. Margaret Court holds the record at 24 and ties with Serena at this point.
Williams can do it and in fact Court won three of her major titles after giving birth to her son in 1972.
Other moms have done it too.
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.
And Olympic Gold medalist and seven times Grand slam winner, in 1914, Dorothea Lambert Chambers became the first mother to win a Grand Slam crown.
First-time mom-to-be Ashley Graham covers the January 2020 edition ofVOGUE, photographed by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz.
The Sports Illustrated cover model shared a photo of the cover of her draped in a gold down cradling her bump. A second photo she shared featured Graham with her husband Justin Ervin bare-chested standing behind his wife cradling her belly on a beach.
Draped in gilded “Oscar de la Renta” caftan, the model looks radiant in her first solo cover for the U.S. edition of the fashion publication.
Inside the mag, Graham discusses social media’s “baby bump” obsession), what her mom pals Kim Kardashian, Amy Schumer and Serena Williams taught her about motherhood and her struggle to find support during this complete life change.
“I’ve always had control over my body — when everyone else wanted to dictate what it should be, I took full control over it — but I had this life inside of me saying, ‘It’s not yours anymore, it’s mine,‘” says Graham. “I was gaining weight rapidly. And I felt alone. And the one piece of advice that my stylist, Jordan Foster, gave me was, ‘Make pregnant friends.’ None of my friends were in relationships, let alone pregnant. And now I have nine pregnant friends.”
“When I look at this picture, I get so emotional because this moment feels bigger than me,” she captioned the post. “It’s indicative of our entire relationship – my husband @mrjustinervin supporting me ALWAYS from day one.”
The model continues, “I’m overwhelmed with so much joy and filled with such gratitude that we are doing this together 🖤 Thank You Thank You Thank You.”
Readers in New York City and Los Angeles, California can nab a copy of the January 2020 issue today and nationwide on Dec. 17. To see more photos from Graham’s photo shoot, styled by fashion editor Tonne Goodman, and to read her full interview, visit Vogue.com.
My fave part is about Williams who parrots everything chronicled on this blog. Woot! Yes sis!:
“Serena Williams wonders if it all started with Demi Moore on the cover of Vanity Fair in 1991, naked and pregnant, shocking all the squeamish prudes and church ladies. “I was only 10 at the time,” says Williams, “but I remember thinking that was cool.” Ten years later, when Us Weekly focused its attention on questionable gossip and paparazzi shots of actresses pumping gas in Beverly Hills, the whole bizarro obsession with the “baby bump” took off. Tabloid copycats escalated their pursuit of the possibly pregnant, raising it to the level of stalking. One afternoon of bloat while leaving The Ivy and suddenly: IS JENNIFER PREGNANT? And then social media came along and women began to own their narrative by curating the journey of getting and being pregnant and giving birth and bouncing back—or not.
“I think it’s a good thing,” says Williams, “but it also puts a lot of pressure on women. For me, the whole lie about ‘the snap back’ was what bothered me. I had a little problem with the lies of girls on Instagram—like, coming out of the hospital holding the baby and . . . you know . . . looking thinner than before. That’s not happening to me! That’s one thing I’ve learned, and the thing I tell Ashley: Everybody—literally every body—is different. You might jump back in an hour. I didn’t.”
Motherhood took center stage again at the World Athletics Championships when US Gold Medaling hurdler Nia Ali celebrated her win in the Women’s 100 meter hurdles with her two children 4-year-old son Titus and 16-month-old daughter Yuri who joined her victory lap in Doha, Qatar, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019.
She is the latest among several elite Track and Field athletes this year and in recent years to have major comebacks after having a baby to win prizes and spots on top of the winners’ podium. Their wins echo the great successes of FIFA World Cup champion US Women’s Soccer Team and new mom Tennis Champ Serena Williams proving that female athletes can do it all, despite some who insist they retire after motherhood.
Ali hopes her medals after baby sends a message to other female Track athletes.
In 2016, after winning the Silver Medal, Ali tlalked about how men can build their families and continue training and winning “without missing a beat”. She said she wants to encourage women to do the same and know that having a family “is also a very important part of your life…it can also make you a stronger competitor” and “build your character.”
She added, of motherhood: “It has made me stronger, has given me more dedication, and who knows if I had this edge had I not had a child last year….I want more women to embrace having a family and not look at it as a burden or it might throw them off their game, or they won’t come back.”
Boy has this crop of champions proven wrong the perception that mother hood is a career killer in track and field.
Felix, who became a mother last November, also won gold last weekend in the new event, mixed relay, and now has 13 total – two more than the record she shared with Jamaica’s Usain Bolt.
His country mate Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica also won two golds. China’s Liu Hong picked up a gold in the race walk and Alysia Montano, a mother of two who was part of the Nike movement along with Felix, went to the Championships to collect two bronze medals reallocated to her following 2011 and 2013 doping scandals from 2011 and 2013.
Twenty years ago, 23-Times Grand Slam Tennis Champ Serena Williams won her first US Open in 1999 and today longtime sponsor Chase Bank released a compelling ad on TV to commemorate that win as she continues on her post-motherhood journey to capture her 24th Title.
The last championship, she secured at the 2017 Australian Open while 7 weeks pregnant,
Thus, in a full-circle presentation, Chase brilliantly weaves the narratives of her athletic achievement and motherhood into the story of a singular life in the campaign video produced by Australian ad vet David Droga’s firm Droga5.
The advertisement is a continuation of a campaign the bank launched last year called “This Mama Keeps Going” and this time, a short film opens with a visual of a sonogram with background vocals. A reporter congratulating Williams.The video continues with shots of never-before-seen very personal videos and photos from Williams’ pregnancy and in the voiceover, she shares her excitement and struggles.
Interspersed is footage of her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, who she welcomed on September 1, 2017 with hubby, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, and as the TV spot focuses in on Williams’ tough sojourn in recovery after a difficult delivery when she suffered from a pulmonary embolism. (Which immediately reminds us of her vocal advocacyfor expectant mothers, especially women of color, after birth in the US.),
She didn’t win in today’s US Open Finals though she battled and defeated a lot of excellent players, losing to the younger version of herself, a stellar Canadian upstart, 19-year old Bianca Andreescu, the battle continues.
Through scenes of breastfeeding, pumping and calming a fussy toddler, Williams speaks about the joy of watching a daughter succeed.
Only then does it become clear that her words are from a press conference after her very first Grand Slam win, 20 years ago at the U.S. Open in 1999.
The company provides a number of online resources such as group discussions with other moms, medical provider info and trained “maternity coaches” who can flag if something is wrong.
Other services include patient monitoring and video calls with medical experts. There are paid tiers starting at $20 and ending at about $200. As of this report, Mahmee has about 1000 providers in their network.
The 23-time Grand Slam winner knows all too well what Black mothers face. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “Black women are three to four times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related complication than non-Hispanic white women.”
“I am incredibly excited to invest and partner with Mahmee, a company that personifies my firm’s investment philosophy,” Williams said in a statement. “Given the bleak data surrounding maternal death and injury rates, I believe that it is absolutely critical right now to invest in solutions that help protect the lives of moms and babies.”
Serena Williams delighted fans around the world with an uplifting message in the wake of her surprise defeat at the French Open this week.
The 23-time Grand Slam winner is an inspiration to moms everywhere as she continues to excel after giving birth toAlexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. in September 2017.
She is now 37 years old and most players would have retired by now, but Williams continues to compete at the highest level. She slumped to a shock loss to world number 37 Sofia Kenin this week, but she was praised for her response.
“Yesterday was not my day,” she wrote in a heartfelt Instagram post. “But it’s about getting up time and time again after you fall. Here’s to a multitude of tomorrows.”
Williams suffered a pulmonary embolism after giving birth, leaving her bedridden for six weeks and delaying her return to training, but she has continued to excel and she finished runner-up at the US Open last year.
That followed victory at the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant, showing just what a magnificent competitor she is.
She is widely regarded as the greatest player of all, having secured the most Grand Slam titles in the Open Era, and she is just one behind Margaret Court, who has 24 Grand Slams, on the all-time list. If she can win one more Slam she will move level with Court and that would be an amazing story for an athlete that serves as a tireless champion for all mothers.
Yet Williams has also faced a great deal of criticism this week after Australian clay court specialist Dominic Thiem was ousted from his press conference in order to make way for her.
She wanted to get her post-match press duties over and done with as quickly as possible after her defeat to Kenin, but she was told that Thiem was using the room.
After further talks, officials decided to kick him out to accommodate Williams, prompting a furious reaction as he accused her of having “a bad personality”.
“I don’t really get it, seriously,” he said. “I mean, what the hell? No, but it’s a joke, really. I have to leave the room because she’s coming? It doesn’t matter if it is me who sits in there, even if a junior is in there. I am 100% sure Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal would never do something like that.”
Eurosport pundit Annabel Croft slammed her behaviour and demanded she apologize to Thiem.
“It is a question of who is in charge here. It is unbelievably disrespectful to a man that is still in the draw,” said Croft. “She should be made to wait an extra five minutes until finished. Had it been a role reversal there would have been absolute uproar. It’s just appalling.”
There has been no response as of yet from Williams, but it could be a misunderstanding.
Some say she asked for Room 2 and not for Thiem to be moved, and the organizers just decided to evict the Austrian from the main room. Staff at the French Open have questions to answer.
Williams also had every right to be keen to get media duties out the way as quickly as possible.
She had lost and she would have been desperate to get back to her daughter as soon as possible, so everyone should give her the benefit of the doubt and let her get on with dazzling on court and being a great mom.
When Belarusian tennis ace Victoria Azarenka announced her surprise pregnancy, she feared that she would never play professional tennis again, despite confirming her intentions to return to the court after giving birth. Azarenka was ranked sixth in the WTA world rankings at that point and had just celebrated landing her 20th WTA tour title.
In a recent interview, Azarenka said that when she was forced to cut her 2016 season short, she admitted her initial thought was “oh my god, I’m never going to play tennis again”.
Ending her 2016 campaign was like “ripping off a band aid” to Azarenka. She admitted that she cried down the phone to her mother, but soon realised that she didn’t know what she was crying about.
Azarenka eventually took to motherhood like a duck to water. She said that after giving birth to baby son, Leo, in December 2016, she “felt so much stronger physically” and that her “body finally matured into being a woman”.
She returned to the WTA circuit in June 2017 and went deep into the fourth round at Wimbledon, which was a big achievement considering her nine-month absence.
Azarenka’s decided to return to tennis quickly after giving birth, around the same time as Serena Williams, who recently opened up about her insecurities as a mom, announced her own pregnancy, This brought the WTA’s maternity policies into the spotlight once again.
Last year, Azarenka and Williams, along with Venus Williams, Johanna Konta and several other stars, successfully campaigned for the introduction of improved ranking protection for expectant mothers playing on the circuit.
Prior to the 2019 season, female players had to return from giving birth or injury within three years to be able to utilize a special ranking for eight tour events in a year. However, this year, players returning from childbirth or injury can use their previously held ranking to enter up to 12 tournaments during a three-year period.
They will also not be required to face a seeded player in the first round of a tournament. Azarenka said: “We have the power to change the rules and we have done.” The 29-year-old says that “is what [she] wants [her] legacy to be”.
On the court, 2018 marked a solid return to action for Azarenka, who returned inside the top 100 in the WTA world rankings. A semi-final run at the Miami Open was arguably the stand-out moment that underlined her return to form.
However, at Wimbledon, she would reach the mixed doubles final, partnering Scotsman Jamie Murray.
At the beginning of this year, Azarenka finally managed to return to one of her favorite events, the Australian Open, after being forced to pull out of the previous year’s tournament due to her ongoing custody battle.
Although the Belarusian slipped to a disappointing first round loss to Laura Siegemund in Melbourne, Azarenka has since enjoyed greater success both in singles and doubles.
In the former, she battled her way to the final of the WTA Monterrey Open, before having to retire in the second set against defending champ, Garbine Muguruza.
She also bagged some silverware in the doubles, winning in the Abierto Mexicano Telcel hard court tournament with partner, Zheng Saisai.
Hard courts have always been favoured by Azarenka, due largely to her aggressive baseline style. She has two Australian Open titles to her name, but the US Open is the other hard court Grand Slam that has alluded her thus far.]
Age is obviously not on her side, but Williams has proven that this doesn’t have to be an issue. Japanese starlet, Naomi Osaka will be looking to retain her crown after winning her first Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows last year.
There are two Grand Slams to play between now and then. However. Azarenka is yet to reach a final at either the French Open or Wimbledon. Whether she is likely to do so this season is up for debate.
Nevertheless, as of May 2019, Azarenka’s world ranking now stands at 43. Less than three years after announcing her pregnancy, it may have been a long road back towards the world’s top 50, but she is making inroads month by month to get back to her best.
Tennis phenom Serena Williams, a board member of resale website Poshmark, placed her daughter Alexis Olympia’s clothes on sale inside her Poshmark store and sold out all items within hours.
The proceeds from the clothing sold in Serena’s store benefit Yetunde Price Resource Center, named for Williams elder half-sister who was gunned down in Compton in 2003. YPRC offers resources to victims of direct or indirect senseless violence.
This week, I was in awe to see all of the British and American press making a big deal over the fact that Serena Williams, Amal Clooney and Gayle King threw Meghan Markle a baby shower which some are estimating cost close to a $500,000, when you consider the security and private jet to NYC from the UK and back.
My thoughts: first, no one knows if that estimated number of the cost is entirely accurate.
Second: So what?
I’ve been covering celebrity baby showers for as long as this blog has existed, which is over 10 years, and I do not recall anytime that news and gossip outlets discussed the cost of a celebrity baby shower.
Granted, I do understand that baby showers are uncommon among the British, so any shower at any cost may seem exorbitant. However, Kensington Palace had to come out and state that Markle paid for the cost of travel and her stay herself.
They may have pointed out how lavish they were but none reported on the cost, to my recollection.
Let’s take a look at other celeb showers because, what does one expect from people who are rich and/or wealthy and have resources and funds to throw lavish affairs?
For example, Cardi B‘s shower featured a 16-foot topiary floral wall, room entrance ways that resembled a 6-car subway train, and several rooms draped in 26,000 pink and white flowers.
Honestly, I think this young woman is getting more criticism than her predecessor non-royal wife, Duchess Catherine, Kate Middleton.
It reminds me of the criticism Michelle Obama received to the cost of her clothing, hullabaloo which was not similarly made over the cost of Barabara or Nancy Bush or Hillary Clinton‘s First Lady clothing prior.
Did someone send out a memo?? It looks like a bunch of the ladies we’ve covered and whose pregnancies the blog has followed in the past decided to share recent photos of their sweet little ones on Instagram.