This past Wednesday, news broke that top tennis player Serena Williams was pregnant. Normally when people of notoriety(or anyone for that matter) announce they are expecting, reactions consist of congratulations and good luck. Yet, this situation is quite different because Williams recently won her 23 Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open on January 28. Which means, according to The New York Times, she was almost two months pregnant during the tournament. I don’t know how significant that seems to people, but playing in any tennis match is tiring/sweaty/intense, but playing and winning a multi-day, elite tournament on top of being pregnant at 35, I haven’t even fully grasped this. Oh, and she didn’t lose a single set- it’s truly spectacular.
Upon this news, I have thought about her and her career, which probably seems like what the heck am I doing with my life, but reflecting on her journey is inspiring and pretty epic. She has battled through so many struggles and criticisms to keep doing what she does best. Her indomitably has just been reinforced with another Grand Slam in polarizing fashion.
But even with these amazing achievements, Williams has always been referred to as one of the greatest female athletes, but never just one of the greatest athletes. She’s been vocal in her disdain for this title and how Lebron James or Roger Federer have never been considered one of the greatest male athletes, just greatest athlete. This double standard has continued with her pregnancy news and the headlines along the lines of ‘The end of Serena’s career’ or any other buzz about this hindering her. Yes, having a baby is a big deal and very difficult, but when male athletes become dads, everything’s great and cute, but when a woman has a child and returns to her job/sport, it’s terrible and abandonment. She announced this four days ago and speculation is already insane.
But clearly any racism, sexism, and such a physically and mentally challenging game can’t shake her, and I don’t know how much this baby can derail her either if she decides to return to tennis. And here’s to hoping the media can write nonsexist stories, even though that is pretty far-fetched. One thing is for certain, though, she is going to have one gifted child.