BY GODWIN AIKIGBE
Serena Williams is set to return to tennis court seven weeks after giving birth to her first child Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.
The former world number one who put to bed on 1 September on Friday took to Instagram to announce her readiness to return to competitive tennis, accompanied her post with the picture above.
“I’m ready to get back at it. My belief in myself has never been stronger. #1of1 Hey @diddy, what do yours say?,” stated Serena, who in April indicated her desire to return tennis after birth of her child.
“I can’t wait for you to join the players’ box next year. But most importantly, I am so happy to share being number one in the world with you,” wrote Williams. The baby is due later this year.
Serena has slumped to 24 in the Women ATP ranking on 2030 points, a far cry from 6175 accumulated by top-ranked Simona Halep. At 36, she will have to prove she can still perform at top level like several tennis players have won grand slams after giving birth.
Belgium’s Kim Clijsters had a baby in 2008 then won the US Open in 2009 and 2011, as well as the Australian Open in 2011. Margaret Court Smith, whose grand slam record Williams is chasing, won three of her 24 championships after having a child in 1972.
Her trainer, Mackie Shilstone, is confident she will still be able to perform at the highest level.
He told the Guardian: “Without a doubt I think she will come back and be even stronger – because she will be playing for two.
“If she sets foot on the court she will come to play. I hate using the word “star” but Serena is a star in the true sense. She is just unique.”