How Serena Williams rewrote the playbook for female athletes juggling motherhood and sport?
Serena Williams, the world’s greatest tennis champion and world’s best athlete, is at the top of her game again, but not because of her ability on a tennis court, or on a basketball court, or on a horseback ride, or on a plane or in a car. No, after seven years of pregnancy, four children, and a string of injuries, she’s now back performing at her high peak of athletic excellence.
Instead of accepting a lower place for her in the sports world, Williams has decided that her sport will now rise again.
As she told the New York Daily News that she was pregnant and at the front of the line for a comeback, she also told the press that she intended to remain in her athletic prime for the rest of her career.
She wants to be like Jackie Robinson, who is credited with helping put on the color barrier for African Americans in sports. After making it all the way up from the Negro Leagues to play on the U.S. Olympic Team and winning a gold medal in the games, she went home to raise her children.
“I am not trying to become Jackie Robinson, but just to be the best I can be,” Williams said. “I want to compete as hard as I can, be that athlete at the absolute peak of their game, and have the world notice the difference.”
Before Williams started working on a comeback, she already had the power and the drive to become a great player. Even when she was a toddler, she was a natural. At age three, she was an all-state tennis player, winning all summer, and at age five, she was the U.S. Junior All-Star.
In Williams’ athletic prime, she was the top-ranked female in the world after Wimbledon. Even later after she won her first U.S. Open in 1999, she was still top 10 in the world. She had a huge, dominant serve that was powerful enough to hit forehands and backhand volleys through the net. Her shots were solid and precise