Serena Williams: A Sportswoman Who Hasn’t Played Tennis For Three Seasons

How Serena Williams rewrote the playbook for female athletes juggling motherhood and sport

Serena Williams and her daughter, Alexis Olympia, walk to the court just after the U.S. Open final match. (Jonathan Daniel/ Getty Images)

By Sarah Lazare and Elizabeth Kliman

Nov. 25, 2016

NEW YORK — Serena Williams hasn’t done much at all recently.

After having a full schedule as the tennis star’s coach and player for the last three seasons, the 38-year-old Williams was absent from the tennis circuit on Monday, the day before the U.S. Open. On Tuesday, her absence from the tennis competition wasn’t even noticed.

But even with Williams not competing in the tournament, the New York Times was able to do a comprehensive profile of her, and how she became a “sports wife,” a term coined by the Times to describe a modern sportswoman who juggles a career and her child while continuing to play.

Williams’ career as an athlete had been upended by pregnancy. In June, Williams announced she was pregnant with her first daughter, Alexis Olympia, who was born in May.

“People say I’m making excuses,” Williams said at an event in Dallas. “I wasn’t in court. I wasn’t training or practicing. I was in court not doing the tennis. And that’s what it is. You’ve got a child who just happens to sit on your lap, and that’s what it is. So I get it.”

Her absence from the Open was because she was, the Times reports, “taking part in a mental training session.” That can be a good thing, depending on your mental preparation for the tennis court.


The Times reports that Williams had told people that tennis wasn’t going to be a top priority for the foreseeable future. Williams said the game was “nothing but an excuse to relax and stay lazy and not do anything.”

Williams, who hasn’t been to the U.S. Open since 2012, is hoping to compete in Paris in a bid to reclaim that elusive

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