Real talk

Serena Williams opens up about coping with a challenge that many working mothers face

Serena Williams celebrates winning her semi-final match against Germany's Julia Goerges (REUTERS/Andrew Boyers)

Serena Williams is gearing up to play the U.S. Open later this month, marking her final Grand Slam tournament of the year and the culmination of her game-changing—if uneven—return to tennis after the birth of her daughter. In an interview with Time, Williams opened up about coping with a challenge that many working mothers face: balancing the drive to succeed with the pull of caring for one’s young child.

Williams’ baby, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., “is almost always on her mother’s mind,” Time writes. The star athlete has made drastic changes to the way she approaches her training and career in order to spend as much time as possible with her daughter: she breastfed Olympia for eight months, even though it made it more difficult to get back into shape after her pregnancy; she spends the days of her night matches feeding and caring for Olympia instead of resting; she strictly limits the time of her workouts so she can be with her baby.

Leaving Olympia to workout and train is difficult, “Momma’s going to make you very sad right now,” she tells the baby before going to the gym, “But it hurts me more than it hurts you.” But Williams wasn’t ready to give up on her astronomically successful career after having a child.

Williams has faced other difficulties since the birth of her daughter and her return to tennis. Recently, she discovered that the man who shot and killed her sister, Yetunde Price, in 2003 had been released on parole.

“No matter what, my sister is not coming back for good behavior,” she said. “It’s unfair that she’ll never have an opportunity to hug me.

In spite of these personal struggles, Williams is not ready to bring an end to her astronomically successful athletic career.

I’m not done yet, simple,” she said. “My story doesn’t end here.”

Read the full interview at Time.

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