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Serena Williams overwhelmed by her own success, reaches Wimbledon final  1 Month ago

Source:   USA Today  

WIMBLEDON, England — In the past 10 months since Serena Williams gave birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia, the 23-time Grand Slam champion’s discovered there’s no limit to what a mother will endure to have a child.

Secure in reaching her first Wimbledon final since she won here against Angelique Kerber in 2016 — the two will play again for this year’s title on Saturday — Williams was effusive Thursday in describing how blood clots complicated her post-delivery recovery after giving birth.

It was her previous battle with pulmonary embolisms that allowed Williams to self-diagnose and alert medical personnel at the hospital that something was going very wrong.

“It’s crazy,” she said on BBC TV after defeating Julia Goerges 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals. “I don’t even know how to feel. I literally didn’t expect to do this well in my fourth tournament back in 16 months. I had a really tough delivery, had to have multiple surgeries and almost didn’t make it, to be honest.”

Although Williams, 36, said doctors never told her she wouldn’t be able to return to the game, she did have many “restrictions” as she slowly rebounded from the ordeal. Most revealing in her discussion was how emotionally draining it is to constantly worry about the possibility of another bout with blood clots.

“For me, having to deal with PEs, pulmonary embolisms, is more mentally challenging because I don’t know if I have a pain in my leg, I automatically go to the worst-case scenario,” she said. “I mean, even this week, I had a pain in my leg, and I went to the worst-case scenario: ‘Oh my God, I have a PE in my leg.'

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“I didn’t know I would have such kind of traumatic thoughts, especially now that I have a daughter. I want to be around as long as I can to support her. It’s interesting how that mental recovery is taking much longer than I expected.”

Despite the danger she faced, the joys of motherhood have made it all worthwhile.

“It’s interesting. I don’t know if it’s been the toughest (thing I’ve faced) because I have Olympia,” Williams said. “For me, I only see joy out of it. In a way, it’s by far the toughest, but in a way it’s by far the best.”

While motherhood might now be her most important role in life, she hasn’t lost any of that desire to compete — and win. And so, after months of being a stay-at-home mom, she decided once healthy enough it was time to go back to work.

There’s been some rocky moments in the 13 matches Williams has played since her return, but the ability to persevere has led her to another potential historical moment.

If she wins an eighth Wimbledon title on Saturday, she will equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles. Court’s victories spanned the amateur and Open era years. Williams’ 23 singles trophies at the majors — she won her last at the 2017 Australian Open when she was already pregnant — is an Open era record.

Williams, however, claims tying the record hasn’t been on her mind as she went through the first six matches of this fortnight, which now gives her 92 wins in 102 matches played at Wimbledon.

“To be perfectly honest, I haven’t thought about that this tournament,” she said. “Not even once actually. In fact, I probably forgot about it. It’s just a number. I want to get as many as I can. I still have a match to win, so I’m not even there yet.”

While it’s hard to imagine she really hasn’t given any thought to what is in the offing, it’s also understandable that she has a pretty special distraction to take her mind off of tennis.

The latest report on the Olympia front has the little one on the move and walking.

“She’s moving those feet now, she’s walking, maybe a little too fast,” Williams said, smiling. “She’s trying to go faster than her body will allow her to go.”

In that way it sounds as if Olympia is taking after her mom.

 

 

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