Carrying on with baby on board
LONDON — Mandy Minella wanted Wimbledon, because of its prestige, to be her final event before giving birth to a daughter in December.
That’s despite the doctors she consulted saying she could still keep playing for months to come.
“I was surprised,” the 31-year-old Minella said. “I thought they would be more cautious, but some said, ‘At six months, maybe the belly would (be) in your way.’ I thought, ‘Maybe at six months? I won’t do that.’ ”
Serena Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion, announced in April that she is pregnant — and won the Australian Open in January while with child. Victoria Azarenka, also a former top-ranked player, is making her second tournament appearance after having a son.
The 82nd-ranked Minella, from Luxembourg, revealed after her first-round loss to Francesca Schiavone on Monday that she is four months pregnant and will end her season once her run in the doubles tournament ends.
That happened on Thursday, as she and doubles partner Anastasija Sevastova lost to qualifiers Ipek Soylu and Varatchaya Wongteanchai 6-1, 7-6 (2).
Minella said she found out she was pregnant on March 23, the day before she lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second round of the Miami Open.
She entered seven other WTA tournaments before making her fourth appearance in the main singles draw at Wimbledon.
“I’m very happy for her,” Azarenka said. “She’s doing it, and she obviously feels good. Until the doctor says, ‘Hey, cut it, quit,’ it’s wonderful. I think it’s wonderful.”
Minella said she had always expected that she would finish her career before starting a family, so the timing of the pregnancy isn’t ideal.
She does, however, have plans to return to competition at some point next year — especially because in April her ranking reached the high-60s for the first time since 2012.
“I have an opportunity to play Grand Slams again, to play big tournaments,” Minella said. “I would like to get back in shape, also for me, and I would like to finish on my terms as well, so we will see where it will bring me.”
Mandy Minella competed at Wimbeldon this week despite being four-and-a-half months pregnant.