No other athlete has experienced or might ever experience the pressures that Serena Williams has sustained to achieve greatness in an individual sport. As a child, the expectations for this superior athlete and future hall-of-famer were already established by her father (Richard Williams). In the late 90s, Mr. Williams proclaimed that Venus (her legendary, older sister) was good, but Serena would be much better. Even if these future projections weren’t known by Serena, the professional tennis community collectively took notice and some were bothered by his comments.
As a professional athlete, Serena (who followed Venus’ debut on the women’s professional tennis tour) was compared to her empowering sister. Would she be as good; could she be better; what would she accomplish?!
Serena isn’t known for being silent or demure on the tennis court. Notwithstanding, she proved her mettle and quickly silenced her critics’ doubts with her athleticism, skill, and will power to become arguably (not really) the greatest athlete of all time. No other athlete (man or woman) has dominated a sport in terms of her reign of weeks at #1, personal challenges/setbacks overcome, tennis achievements, sports dominance, and championships earned.
Numerous mothers-to-be deal with the sometimes-paralyzing challenges of pregnancy during their first trimesters. This makes it even more incredible that Serena is estimated to have been two months pregnant at the time she won the Australian Open. In some ways, this is a little unfair and against the rules of tennis singles play since it was sort of two people competing against one. Nevertheless, with this 23rd grand slam title, Serena “cemented her legacy” as the Greatest of All Time (GOAT).
In April 2017, fans around the world were excited by the unexpected news about her pregnancy. However, there were probably numerous female players who felt relief that she wouldn’t be vying for another grand slam title --- at least this year. Serena – who recently reclaimed the #1 title and extended her dominance on this sport – would now be away from the game for at least a year. This sudden void causes uncertainty and speculations about who will emerge as the dominate force during her absence, along with questions about whether she’ll return to the game and regain her domination.
In the meantime, the following should be considered:
* Will this legendary champion return to this game this late in her career;
* Will she be able to regain her form after delivering her child;
* Will she end her tennis career with a climatic ending by becoming the winningest player (male of female) during the open area --- and while pregnant;
* Is this yet another fairy tale absence and reemergence to dominate the tour yet again?
This preeminent athlete is known for her ability to multi-task, desire to overcome challenges, and ability to command herself to win. Therefore, it’s my prediction that Serena will not retire and will return to the game in time to win her 24th championship at the Australian Open. Moreover, she’ll impose her will to win at least three more singles championships before her career ends.
Serena’s ferocious pursuit of greatness, enormous talent, competitive drive, and fearlessness will certainly be missed during her journey into motherhood --- and some day (long, long away) after she retires from professional tennis.
Regardless of Serena’s future plans, we’re blessed to be a witness to her tennis reign; although, it’s my hope for her fans and myself that she’ll return to this game to compete for many years to come!
If Serena applies the same passion to raise her child as she’s brought to the courts, then she’ll inevitably be as or more successful as a parent. Best wishes for you, your family, and your child!
educator, mental health advocate, social entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, author, writer/contributor, program executive, and radio host