Wimbledon

Wimbledon isn't child's play for new mum Serena

2018-07-02 21:27
serena williams
Serena Williams serve (Getty Images)

London - Serena Williams admits she is still adjusting to the unique challenge of chasing an eighth Wimbledon title while making time for her baby daughter.

Williams is back at Wimbledon for the first time since giving birth to Alexis Olympia in September and the former world number one is having to get used to the increased demands on her time.

Few female players have succeeded at Grand Slam level after becoming mothers -- only Kim Clijsters did it recently at the US Open in 2009, while Margaret Court and Evonne Goolagong Cawley also won majors after giving birth.

The joys of being a mum haven't dulled Serena's fierce competitive instincts and, aiming to add to her haul of 23 major titles, she started her latest Wimbledon campaign with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Holland's Arantxa Rus on Monday.

But the 36-year-old conceded it isn't easy to come to terms with spending time away from her daughter to focus on tennis.

"It's hard. I realised at Roland Garros, if the days were long, I was playing singles and doubles there, that was hard because I felt guilty," she said.

"I was like, I haven't seen Olympia, like what am I doing. If it's the shorter days, now that I'm not playing doubles in this event, I have the day off, I think that will help.

"She definitely notices when I'm away. I'm there every day of her life. So she does get super excited when I come back in. You guys are making me miss her.

"I really don't like being away from her. I also think it's healthy in a way for me to do what I need to do, be that working mom, then go back home and be the mom."

Having endured complications from her daughter's birth, Serena was playing only her second Grand Slam this year.

She won her first three matches at the French Open before pulling out due to a pectoral injury.

Since a 2014 third round loss to Alize Cornet, Serena has now won 15 successive matches at Wimbledon -- she took the title in 2015 and 2016 before missing last year's tournament due to her pregnancy.

Twenty years after making her Wimbledon debut, there were a few signs of rust against Rus and Serena was pleased to get her first Wimbledon match as a mother out of the way.

"I didn't think about that actually. But it felt good to play, just to be back on the grass. Two years, over a year. It definitely felt good," she said.

Williams is the second oldest player in the women's draw, but even motherhood can't persuade her to consider retiring when she sees Swiss star Roger Federer thriving at the same age.

"I'm just playing until Roger stops. Gosh, how long? Did he put a time limit on it?" she said.

"We in it. We in it together. As long as he's here, I'm going to try to be here."

For now, Serena hopes a deep run at Wimbledon will persuade her friend Meghan Markle to watch her in action.

Williams was a guest at her wedding to Prince Harry at Windsor Castle in May and joined the new Duchess of Sussex to watch a polo match over the weekend.

Wimbledon is favourite event of the royal family and asked if Markle might be seen supporting her over the next fortnight, Serena smiled: "I don't know. We'll see. If I keep winning!"

Wimbledon results on Monday, the first day of the 2018 championships (x denotes seeded player):

Men

1st round

Roger Federer (SUI x1) bt Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 6-1, 6-3, 6-4

Ivo Karlovic (CRO) bt Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (9/7), 6-3

Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) bt Leonardo Mayer (ARG x32) 3-6, 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/5), 6-1

Adrian Mannarino (FRA x22) bt Christian Garin (CHI) 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2

Ryan Harrison (USA) bt Roberto Carballes (ESP) 6-1, 6-4, 6-2

Guillermo Garcia-Lpez (ESP) bt Gasto Elias (POR) 6-2, 6-4, 6-2

Daniil Medvedev (RUS) bt Borna Coric (CRO x16) 7-6 (8/6), 6-2, 6-2

Sam Querrey (USA x11) bt Jordan Thompson (AUS) 6-2, 6-4, 6-3

Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) bt Joao Sousa (POR) 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 1-6, 6-4

Gael Monfils (FRA) bt Richard Gasquet (FRA x23) 7-6 (8/6), 7-5, 6-4

Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER x25) bt Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) 6-2, 6-4, 7-5

Gilles Muller (LUX) bt Michael Mmoh (USA) 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (9/7), 3-6, 6-1

Andreas Seppi (ITA) bt John-Patrick Smith (AUS) 6-2, 6-4, 6-1

Kevin Anderson (RSA x8) bt Norbert Gombos (SVK) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4

Marin Cilic (CRO x3) bt Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) 6-1, 6-4, 6-4

Guido Pella (ARG) bt Jason Kubler (AUS) 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7/3)

Mackenzie McDonald (USA) bt Ricardas Berankis (LTU) 4-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-3, 7-6 (8/6)

Nicolas Jarry (CHI) bt Filip Krajinovic (SRB x28) 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4

Lucas Pouille (FRA x17) bt Denis Kudla (USA) 6-3, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3

Dennis Novak (AUT) bt Peter Polansky (CAN) 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (9/7)

John Millman (AUS) bt Stefano Travaglia (ITA) 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, 7-5, 6-2

Milos Raonic (CAN x13) bt Liam Broady (GBR) 7-5, 6-0, 6-1

John Isner (USA x9) bt Yannick Maden (GER) 6-2, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5

Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x31) bt Gregoire Barrere (FRA) 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 7-5

Jared Donaldson (USA) bt Malek Jaziri (TUN) 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 6-1

Thomas Fabbiano (ITA) bt Yuki Bhambri (IND) 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-2

Stan Wawrinka (SUI) bt Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x6) 1-6, 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/5), 6-4

Women

1st round

Karolina Pliskova (CZE x7) bt Harriet Dart (GBR) 7-6 (7/2), 2-6, 6-1

Victoria Azarenka (BLR) bt Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) 7-6 (7/4), 6-3

Katie Swan (GBR) bt Irina Camelia Begu (ROM) 6-2, 6-2

Kiki Bertens (NED x20) bt Barbora Stefkova (CZE) 6-3, 6-2

Anna Blinkova (RUS) bt Wang Yafan (CHN) 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-4

Alexandra Dulgheru (ROM) bt Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) 6-4, 1-6, 6-2

Venus Williams (USA x9) bt Johanna Larsson (SWE) 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 6-1

Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) bt Timea Babos (HUN) 7-5, 6-2

Andrea Petkovic (GER) bt Zhang Shuai (CHN x31) 6-4, 4-6, 6-2

Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) bt Mona Barthel (GER) 7-5, 6-4

Rebecca Peterson (SWE) bt Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK) 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (11/9)

Donna Vekic (CRO) bt Sloane Stephens (USA x4) 6-1, 6-3

Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) bt Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) 5-7, 6-2, 6-2

Serena Williams (USA x25) bt Arantxa Rus (NED) 7-5, 6-3

Sorana Cirstea (ROM) bt Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK x19) 7-5, 6-3

Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) bt Antonia Lottner (GER) 3-6, 7-5, 6-4

Luksika Kumkhum (THA) bt Bernarda Pera (USA) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3

Madison Keys (USA x10) bt Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-4, 6-2

Madison Brengle (USA) bt Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) 2-6, 6-3, 6-3

Camila Giorgi (ITA) bt Anastasija Sevastova (LAT x21) 6-1, 2-6, 6-4

Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) bt Petra Martic (CRO) 7-6 (7/0), 2-6, 6-3

Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x2) bt Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 6-0, 6-3

Read more on:    wimbledon 2018  |  serena wil­liams  |  tennis
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