New mom Serena Williams is one of—if not the—greatest athletes of all time. Her record is unlikely to ever be broken, but her fans and detractors alike were very keen to see how she’d perform on the court after having her first child. So far, she’s struggled during the 2018 season.
After losing in the Wimbledon final to Germany’s Angelique Kerber, Williams nevertheless declared it a victory of sorts. “To all the moms out there, I was playing for you today. And I tried,” said Williams. She had previously defeated Kerber in the 2016 Wimbledon final.
Champion of Motherhood
Williams hit the courts just 10 months after giving birth to daughter Alexis. It wasn’t an easy birth, with life-threatening complications that Williams had to fight for her doctors to take seriously. Although she’s still one of the top-ranked tennis players in the world, Williams says she’s less interested in racking up more Grand Slam wins and more focused on proving what moms can achieve.
She admitted that while training for Wimbledon, Williams missed her daughter’s first steps.
A Busy August
Never content to rest on her laurels, Williams scheduled three tournaments almost back to back, beginning with the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose. Next up is the Rogers Cup in Montreal, followed immediately by the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. She’ll have a week off before the U.S. Open beginning the last week of August.
Although Williams is staying busy, her tournament schedule is still lighter than it was in previous seasons. Prior to Wimbledon, Williams withdrew from the French Open in the fourth round due to an injury. She also decided to sit out the Australian Open earlier this year.
Worst Match of Her Career
In San Jose, Williams suffered the worst defeat of her incredible career. The 36-year-old has never been defeated in a match without winning at least two games, but her first-round loss to England’s Johanna Konta changed that. She lost 6-1, 6-0.
In addition, it was a surprisingly sloppy performance by Williams, who served seven double faults and made 25 unforced errors. Of the win, Konta said, “I just tried to put aside what an incredible player she is, and just play the player of the day.”
That day, Williams was the less competent player, but don’t discount Konta, who is ranked 48th in the world. “Things can turn at any point,” Konta said in a post-game interview, “but I was very clear on what I needed to do.”
While Williams was obviously not happy about the loss, she managed to shrug it off. “I have so many things on my mind, I don’t have time to be shocked about a loss when I was clearly not at my best. I really tried to be there, and I was out there fighting. That’s the only thing I can say.”
Will she ever again reach the heights of her earlier career? It’s unclear right now if Williams will be picking up any more trophies this season, but considering that she nearly died less than a year ago, just being on the court is an amazing accomplishment.