Serena Williams on Motherhood, Marriage and Her Comeback

In September, Williams gave birth to her first child, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.

Serena Williams
Serena Williams. (Tom Dulat/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Serena Williams is one of the best athletes to ever step foot on a tennis court. She has won 23 Grand Slams, only one less than Australian tennis legend Margaret Court, who holds the record. Williams wants to get to 25. She also recently became a mom: her first child, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. was born in September. Though the pregnancy was easy, the aftermath was not: she had to have an emergency C-section. Then, Williams, who has a history of pulmonary embolisms and blood clots, had clots in her legs and the blood thinner she was put on caused hemorrhaging at the site of her C-section. For the first six weeks of motherhood, she was unable to get out of bed. Vogue writes that the first couple months of motherhood tested her in ways she never imagined. Williams said during those first few months, she would “get really down and feel like, Man, I can’t do this.” But she found support in the tennis community — the other parents sent her and the baby gifts and clothing — and in Sheryl Sandberg, a longtime hero of Williams’. The two met years ago and became closer after Sandberg’s husband unexpectedly passed away. Williams lost her sister, Yetunde Price, in 2003, and was able to offer Sandberg a level of support not everyone could. Williams also got married in 2017 to Alexis Ohanian, one of the founders of Reddit. She also agreed to sit on the board of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, whose mission is to nurture a more diverse and inclusive corps of future leaders.

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