“Serena proved you can have both” Tennis legend Martina Navratilova hails Serena Williams as a revolutionist for the sport playing as a mother
Former American tennis star Martina Navratilova, 65, was one of the greatest players in history during her generation, who recently caught the media’s attention by commenting on Serena Williams’ retirement issue that went viral worldwide through the social media platforms.
Navratilova thinks Serena Williams’ determination to go on competing after becoming a parent has made it possible for other players to continue competing after having children. Williams confirmed she was pregnant with her first child shortly after claiming her 23rd Grand Slam at the 2017 Australian Open. Her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., was born in September.
After taking a brief hiatus from playing tennis in February 2018, the American made a comeback in July 2018, reaching the Wimbledon final and losing to Angelique Kerber in the process. Navratilova believes Williams has demonstrated to others that they can come back after becoming parents, in sharp contrast to the 1970s and 1980s, when women withdrew once they were pregnant. Williams won four Grand Slam championships after having a baby and lost in all four matches.
Williams retired after the US Open this year, but there are still a number of mothers who are active on the WTA Tour, including Wimbledon semi-finalist Tatjana Maria, a mother of two; former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, who decided to return after giving birth to her son in 2016; and former world No. 2 Vera Zvonareva, a mother of one.
Nonetheless, in recent years, more than just motherhood has benefited because players are now better able to care for themselves because they are earning far more than those who came before them. Apart from that, Martina saw a sport that was continually changing after she retired, especially in terms of player longevity.
Following the example established by Serena and Federer, who just played his farewell match at the age of 41, Navratilova anticipates that players will have lengthier careers than they had in her era. The former player also indicated that new generation players are offered more facilities and technological advancements than them, which is a key reason for their early career success.
Upon praising Serena’s retirement decision, the veteran superstar remarked, “We cannot replace a Roger Federer or a Serena Williams, but we can bring in new faces that will make us feel better about ourselves and keep us entertained hopefully for decades to come.”
Martina was one of just a few athletes who competed beyond turning 35 “back in the day,” although Williams and Roger Federer, who resigned after the most recent Laver Cup, both played until they were 41.
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