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Rediff.com  » Sports » The Unstoppable Rise of Tennis Moms at the Australian Open

The Unstoppable Rise of Tennis Moms at the Australian Open

By REDIFF SPORTS
January 15, 2024 09:23 IST
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Naomi Osaka

IMAGE: Naomi Osaka plans an intense schedule after her return, seeking a strong comeback. Photograph: Morgan Sette/Reuters

Serena Williams stunned the world, capturing her seventh Australian Open title in 2017 and clinching her 23rd Grand Slam singles title at the age of 35, all while rocking a baby bump!

That epic final against Venus Williams? Serena owned it -- 6-4, 6-4, not a set dropped!

This iconic victory stands as the pinnacle of her career, a testament to her unmatched skill and determination.

 

Serena Williams

IMAGE: Serena Williams with her historic Australian Open title she won on January 28, 2017. Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters

And then, this tweet summed it all up, 'Serena won a Grand Slam pregnant; every man should probably shut up forever'.

Pregnancy's profound impact on a woman's body didn't hinder Serena.

Now, a trio of tennis moms -- Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki -- are poised for comebacks at the Australian Open, aiming to become the first mothers to win a major title in nearly 15 years.

Osaka, a double Australian Open champion, plans an intense schedule after her return, seeking a strong comeback.

The double Australian Open champion, who welcomed daughter Shai in July, isn't easing in.

Osaka aims to replicate her teenage years' packed schedule, setting the stage for a strong comeback at the Australian Open, where she triumphed in 2019 and 2021.

Caroline Wozniacki

IMAGE: Caroline Wozniacki won her only Grand Slam title at the Rod Laver Arena to become number one in the world in 2018. Photograph: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber have both experienced great triumphs at the Australian Open, but admit they will be unable to focus purely on the tennis as they return to Melbourne Park after long absences this year.

Wozniacki won her only Grand Slam title at the Rod Laver Arena to become number one in the world in 2018, but returns to Melbourne six years later with her children Olivia and James in tow.

Wozniacki played only seven matches last year on her return to the tour after a gap of almost four years and lost her only match this year to another mother, Elina Svitolina, in Auckland.

Angelique Kerber

Photograph: Kind courtesy US Open/X

On the other hand, Kerber, who won the first of her three major titles in Melbourne in 2016, will be accompanied by her young daughter as she returns to Grand Slam action for the first time since the 2022 US Open.

The 35-year-old German welcomed the return of close friend and fellow baseliner Wozniacki as well as the other players who have recently had children.

But wait, there's more mom power!

Elina Svitolina

IMAGE: Elina Svitolina, 28, is trying to work her way back to the top after giving birth to daughter Skai last October. Photograph: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Elina Svitolina bounced back quick after having a baby in 2022, acing the Charleston Open and Strasbourg, and smashing it at Roland-Garros and Wimbledon.

Tatjana Maria

Notably, Tatjana Maria made a remarkable comeback, rising from beyond the top 300 to win the Bogota title in 2022 and reach the Wimbledon semi-finals.

These tennis moms are proving that motherhood is no roadblock to ruling the court -- a salute to their grit and game.

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