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Serena Williams Changed How Female Athletes Balance Parenthood and Athletics

October 4, 2022
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Serena Williams Changed How Female Athletes Balance Parenthood and Athletics

Serena Williams was pictured with her five-year-old daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. when she said she would “evolve away from tennis.”

The 23-time grand slam winner was seen on a beach at sunset wearing a powder blue Balenciaga dress. Olympia’s face could be seen through the dress’s train.

“Trust me. I never liked to have to choose between tennis and a family. In an August article in Vogue, Williams said, “I don’t believe it’s acceptable.”

“If I become a guy, I wouldn’t be documenting this because I’d be off there playing and succeeding while my wife did the hard work of growing our family.

“I haven’t wanted to tell myself or anyone else that I need to stop playing tennis,” she said.

Williams talked about how hard it was for her to decide to start a family and stop working hard at her sport. It is a situation that many professional female athletes face at some point in their careers.

In the first scenes of the new CNN film “Serena Williams: On Her Terms,” Team USA heptathlete Lindsay Flach says, “People don’t realize the pain Serena talked about in the article, and I’m glad she’s very vocal about it.”

“People don’t understand that sometimes you have to choose motherhood over sports.

“It’s hard to pick one over the other. And it’s tough to do both at the same time.”

Trying to Win Against All Odds

As a Black woman athlete, Williams learned early on how to do well in situations that made for her to do well.

Serena was born in September 1981. She grew up in Compton, California, with her mother, Oracene Price, and her four older sisters, Venus, Lyndrea, Isha, and Yetunde. When she and Venus were very young, her father, Richard Williams, began coaching them.

“Venus and Serena got into tennis without trying to hide who they are with the help of their father, whether they understood it or not. “Young black girls are playing in this white world,” Cari Champion, a journalist, says during the documentary.

“He thought that if he could teach his daughters that the White world of tennis is not their friend and that if they could do well in this world no matter what, they could do anything in life.

As the sisters’ tennis skills improved, the buzz around their new careers grew.

In 1990, Venus was the best female tennis player in southern California, under 12 years old. She was on the cover of The New York Times and the pages of Sports Illustrated.

In 1991, the family transferred to Florida, where both sisters trained for the first time with professional coaches. After playing tennis on her own for a few years outside the junior circuit. Williams turned pro at age 14, a year after Venus.

Getting Control of Her Narrative

When Williams lost to Australian Ajla Tomljanovi in the third round of the US Open in September. It was likely the end of her tennis career.

She said goodbye on the court, where she won her first grand slam. It was a happy coincidence.

In an on-court interview after the competition. She told ESPN, “I wouldn’t be Serena if there weren’t a Venus.” “She’s the only reason Serena Williams was ever born.”

Williams won 73 singles titles and 23 and 2 mixed doubles titles throughout her long and successful career. And also, she won 39 grand slam titles, 23 singles titles, 14 doubles titles, and two mixed doubles titles. She is one single grand slam title short of Margaret Court, who holds the record with 24.

“Serena is the best example of a strong woman athlete. Now she wants to focus on her family. But it showed everyone that you could be a mom and a top-performing athlete.” WNBA player Napheesa Collier says in the documentary.

And also, Williams made it possible for Black female athletes to have multifaceted careers. She was in Beyonc√©’s “Lemonade” and “King Richard,” and she supported the Black Lives Matter movement.

Read More: World Athletics To Introduce Repechage Round In Paris 2024

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