On September 1, 2017, Serena Williams was blessed with her first child, daughter Alexis Olympia, after some serious, nearly-fatal birthing complications that resulted in Serena “almost dying,” she revealed. This Sunday, less than two-and-a-half years after giving birth to Alexis, Serena beamed proudly with her daughter in one arm while lifting the trophy for the ASB Classic in the other. Serena defeated her fellow American opponent, Jessica Pegula, 6-3, 6-4 at the tournament in Auckland, New Zealand, her first win since Alexis was born. “Oh, it feels good!” Serena said after the exciting victory. “It’s been a long time. I think you could see the relief on my face. It’s pretty satisfying just to get a win in the final. That was really important for me, and I just want to build on it. It’s just a step towards the next goal.”
Despite her frightening experience in the delivery room, Serena made her first reappearance to the game a mere two months later in December at an exhibition match in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. She returned to the courts again 4 months later at the WTA Tour in March of 2018. Though she reached finals at Wimbledon and the US Open in both 2018 and 2019, she had yet to bring home the big prize until now. Speaking on how she maintained her optimism and kept her spirits high as she strived for another win, Serena said, “You have to be your biggest cheerleader, especially if you’re feeling you’re not doing everything right—or even if you are doing everything right but things aren’t working out for you.”
Serena was recently honoured with the Female Athlete of the Decade title by the Associated Press. Her husband, founder Alexis Ohananian, shared an Instagram post to express how proud he is of his wife. On the post, he also revealed just where exactly her $43,000 prize money is going. “And just when I think I can’t possibly be more proud, you donate all your prize money to fight the #australianbushfires,” he wrote. Serena’s next match will actually take place in the continent currently devastated by tragic wildfires. Beginning on January 20th, Serena will play at the Australian Open, a tournament she has won seven times in the past.