Serena Williams is back at the US Open and she's aced her first match! After a stunning performance by Kelly Clarkson, who joked about "opening" for Serena as she kicked off the tournament in Flushing Meadow, New York, the 36-year-old played to victory against Magda Linette on Monday night (Aug. 27). But the victory was bittersweet for the mother of one, who revealed in an interview after the match that not saying goodbye to her napping daughter before the match put a damper on the day.
“It kind of broke my spirit," Serena said of not giving 11-month old Alexis Olympia a proper goodbye, prompting fans to offer a court-wide "awww." The six-time US Open champion welcomed her daughter with Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian last September and returned to the court six month later on International Women's Day. In July, as her friend Meghan Markle teared up on the sidelines, Serena was defeated at Wimbledon and dedicated her game to her fellow mothers.
"It was such an amazing tournament for me. I was really hoping to get this far. It’s obviously disappointing, but I can’t be disappointed. I have so much to look forward to. I’m literally just getting started,” said the seven-time Wimbledon champ in an emotional moment. "To all the moms out there, I was playing for you today and I tried."
Kids humble us. The other day on a flight home Olympia had so much energy and insisted on running up and down the aisle. When I finally got her to calm down and sit still, she threw up all over me and in the aisle. #ThisMama wants to remind all mothers the importance of supporting one another through the highs, lows, laughs and tears. _ Share your own stories of motherhood with hashtag #ThisMama. I’d love to hear them!
Serena has made no secret of the challenges she's faced returning to the competitive circuit, from missing her daughter's first stepsto making the decision to stop breastfeeding. This week, she was at the centre of a controversy as French Open officials banned the athletic "warrior princess" catsuit she wore at the tournament in June. Though she donned the unusual ensemble for health purposes - its compression technology is meant to help prevent blood clots, which have posed life-threatening issues for the athlete on a number of occasions, including childbirth - the champion handled the situation with her usual grace.
"I think that Grand Slams obviously have a right to do what they want to do,” Serena told reporters. “I feel like if and when, or if they know that some things are for health reasons, then there’s no way that they wouldn’t be okay with it.” She added: “The president of the French Federation, he’s been really amazing. He’s been so easy to talk to. My whole team is basically French, so yeah, we have a wonderful relationship.”