10 months after baby, Serena takes on Kerber in final
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.”