On September 13, 2017, just 12 days after she was born, Serena Williams introduced us to her first-born Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.—the adorable baby girl she had with husband and Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian.
Although she doesn't shy away from posting photos of her daughter on Instagram, Williams, who moved from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. to San Francisco, Calif., finally opened up about being a new mom and making a comeback in the courts.
"Maybe this goes without saying, but it needs to be said in a powerful way: I absolutely want more Grand Slams," Williams, who's won 23 Grand Slams, told Vogue. "I’m well aware of the record books, unfortunately. It’s not a secret that I have my sights on 25."
This time, however, her priorities have changed.
"And actually, I think having a baby might help," she said. "When I’m too anxious I lose matches, and I feel like a lot of that anxiety disappeared when Olympia was born. Knowing I’ve got this beautiful baby to go home to makes me feel like I don’t have to play another match. I don’t need the money or the titles or the prestige. I want them, but I don’t need them. That’s a different feeling for me.”
On the other hand, there are times that Williams has compared the difficulties of motherhood to those of tennis.
This one is going on the desk at work. I can't imagine life without these two. This ordeal, as well as the weeks and months after, has made me an even bigger advocate for paid parental leave (not just for my employees--men & women alike--but for all). We're blessed in a lot of ways and I couldn't imagine a new parent going through all of that without all the support, financial security, and flexibility we had.
“Sometimes I get really down and feel like, Man, I can’t do this,” she said.
“It’s that same negative attitude I have on the court sometimes. I guess that’s just who I am. No one talks about the low moments—the pressure you feel, the incredible letdown every time you hear the baby cry. I’ve broken down I don’t know how many times. Or I’ll get angry about the crying, then sad about being angry, and then guilty, like, Why do I feel so sad when I have a beautiful baby? The emotions are insane.”
But if there's one thing that Williams loves about being a mom, is having the opportunity to raise an empowering and strong girl. "I’m so glad I had a daughter. I want to teach her that there are no limits," she said.
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