Anybody who knows a bit about professional tennis must be conscious of how life on the circuit is a struggle. Anybody who knows a bit about pregnancy can testimony that the before, during, and after are a hard task. Anybody who knows a bit about parenting must admit that not much is easy when it comes to raising kids.
So anybody who has a bit of sense would be in awe at the women who have come back to the WTA circuit after giving birth, and who shine both at being outstanding athletes and amazing moms. Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Vera Zvonareva, and Mandy Minella figure among the actual top 100 WTA players, but share another great characteristic: each of them is a mother who has come back to the tour after giving birth.
Active on the court, all four ladies keep their fans up to date with their career successes through their social medias, but a good share of their Internet presence is also proud boasting of their children’s growth.
For those who have missed it, one of Serena’s Instagram videos pictured her daughter Alexis Olympia playing around with racquets, suggesting that the nicknamed “GOAT child” could be following her mother’s steps; while Azarenka’s twitter most often looks like the fanpage of her son Leo—who apparently loves the sound of Gucci.
“I’m a super hands-on mom,” Serena proudly told People a month ago about her relationship with daughter Alexis Olympia. “I am with her every day since she was born. We haven’t spent a day apart”.
What is incredible about those women is that they haven’t seemed to lose their excellent level after the arrival of their children. Williams, who won the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant, made a powerful comeback in 2018, reaching the Wimbledon and US Open finals only months after giving birth—she is now World No.11 and a great expectation at the Rome Master 1000.
Azarenka—who stepped out of the circuit for some time in 2018, due to a custody fight with her son’s father—recently made it to the Monterrey Open final and keeps jumping up in the international ranking, maintaining at the moment the 52nd place.
Meanwhile, Zvonareva and Minella have faced each other in the quarterfinals of this April’s Stuttgart Open, a battle in which Minella prevailed 6-3 5-7 6-2. The Russian, ranked World No. 59, has just been outed 6-4 6-2 by Maria Sakkari from the qualifying draw of the Rome Open, while the Luxembourg is perched on the 100th position of the WTA ranking.
If those four women are often quoted for combining their professional and domestic life like masters, not much is said about the other WTA ladies who do, or have done, the same. However, as Zvonareva said, “We have a big community of tennis moms!" Olga Govortsova, Tatjana Maria, and Maria Sánchez are following Kateryna Bondarenko, Evgeniya Rodina, and Patty Schnyder’s example, keeping up with professional tournaments while dedicating time to their family.
History offers us other cases of supermoms, which include Margaret Court—who owns the female record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles (11 of them during the Open Era), and of children had by the women of this list (she had four)—, Evonne Goolagong—the only mom to have won Wimbledon in the Open Era—, Lindsay Davenport—who shares Court’s record of four children, and is a Hall-of-Famer—and Kim Clijsters—the most recent mother to have won a Grand Slam after pregnancy.
While History is great, modern days post-pregnancy female players have seen the rules relative to their comebacks becoming a little easier than they were before. After Serena Williams’ return from pregnancy in 2018, the WTA has given moms more flexibility in the use of protected rankings and outfits allowed on court. Maybe, thanks to these measures, we will soon have even more incredible women to add to this list!