10 months af­ter baby, Ser­ena takes on Ker­ber in final

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - SPORTS - By Howard Fen­drich

LON­DON » Ser­ena Williams has been say­ing it over and over and over: Wim­ble­don is only her fourth tour­na­ment since re­turn­ing to the tour af­ter hav­ing a baby.

“Ev­ery time I go out there, I want to, I guess, take a gi­ant step for­ward,” she said. “Keep tak­ing gi­ant steps, but keep im­prov­ing.”

Williams played a to­tal of seven matches in 2018 be­fore ar­riv­ing at the All England Club, and she’ll be play­ing her sev­enth match in the last two weeks when she meets 11th-seeded An­gelique Ker­ber of Ger­many in the Wim­ble­don final on Satur­day.

Cer­tainly didn’t take long for the 36-year-old Amer­i­can to get her game in gear and close in on what would be an eighth Wim­ble­don ti­tle, one short of Martina Navratilova’s record, and 24th Grand Slam tro­phy in all, equal­ing Mar­garet Court’s all­time mark.

It was only 10½ months ago that Williams had far more se­ri­ous con­cerns.

Af­ter giv­ing birth to her daugh­ter, Olympia, on Sept. 1, Williams dealt with health com­pli­ca­tions that in­cluded blood clots and led to what she said were mul­ti­ple op­er­a­tions.

“Al­most didn’t make it, to be hon­est,” Williams said shortly af­ter com­plet­ing her 6-2, 6-4 semi­fi­nal vic­tory over 13th-seeded Ju­lia Go­erges on Thurs­day.

She’s been wear­ing com­pres­sion leg­gings dur­ing her matches as a pre­cau­tion and says she re­mains ner­vous.

“I mean, even this week, I had a pain in my leg, and I went to the worst-case sce­nario: ‘Oh, my God, I have a (pul­monary em­bolism) in my leg,”’ Williams said. “I didn’t know I would have such, kind of, trau­matic thoughts. Es­pe­cially now that I have a daugh­ter, I want to be around as long as I can to sup­port her. It’s in­ter­est­ing how that men­tal re­cov­ery is ac­tu­ally tak­ing much longer than I ever ex­pected.”



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