Two weeks after learning she was pregnant, Serena Williams was unsure of committing to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Williams will be 38 in 2020, older than any previous Olympic singles player.
“I can’t promise that … Tokyo 2020 is a lot,” Williams told Wowow TV of Japan after winning the Australian Open on Jan. 28.
Williams said Tuesday in a Ted Talk that she learned of her pregnancy two days before the Australian Open (video here). She was about two months pregnant at the time.
Williams broke the news publicly last week on Snapchat but deleted the post. A spokesperson later confirmed that Williams was pregnant and planned to return to tennis next season.
“Actually, it was an accident,” Williams said Tuesday of the Snapchat. “I was on vacation, just taking some time for myself. I have this thing where I’ve been checking my status and taking pictures every week to see how far along I’ve been going. … You know how social media is, you press the wrong button and there it was. Thirty minutes later, I missed like four calls. I’m like, that’s weird. Then I picked it up, and I was like, oh no. But it was a good moment. I was going to wait, literally, just five or six more days. That’s OK.”
The four-time Olympic champion has made no public comments since last week about the 2020 Olympics.
Williams confirmed Tuesday that she played the entire Australian Open knowing she was pregnant. She won her 23rd Grand Slam singles title, beating older sister Venus in the final.
Williams said she was nervous after finding out she was pregnant two days before the tournament.
“I wasn’t quite sure what to think, but I just knew that at that moment, it was really important me to focus right there at the Australian Open,” she said. “I was definitely not sure what to do. I was like, can I play? I know it’s very dangerous, maybe, sometimes, in the first 12 weeks or so.”
Williams said she didn’t get sick during the tournament. She had heard about people getting tired, or really stressed out.
“I had to really take all that energy, put it in a paper bag, so to say, and throw it away,” she said. “Because I really felt like I didn’t have time to deal with any extra emotions, anything, because, pregnant or not, no one knew, and I was supposed to win that tournament, as I am every tournament that I show up, I am expected to win, and if I don’t win, it’s actually much bigger news.”
Williams is “excited to defy the odds” and return to the WTA Tour next season. She wouldn’t be the first elite player to compete after having a baby.
In January, Williams said Venus, who is 15 months older, is “crazy” and “something special” for targeting the 2020 Olympics.
“I’m really inspired by my sister,” Williams said Tuesday. “If she’s still playing, I know I can play. There’s so many. Roger Federer, he’s a little older than me, and he’s still winning everything, so I’m like, you know, I know I can do that, too. … My story is definitely not over yet. I was talking to my coach about it, and we were talking about. This is just a new part of my life. My baby’s going to be in the stands, and hopefully cheering for me, not crying too much.”
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