Serena Williams, the renowned tennis player, and all-around powerhouse has always been a symbol of strength and determination. But even she wasn’t immune to the challenges that come with motherhood. After giving birth to her daughter in 2017, Williams found herself facing a struggle that would prove to be one of the most difficult of her life: her weight.
As a world-class athlete, Williams had always been in peak physical condition. But the pregnancy had taken a toll on her body, and she struggled to shed the extra pounds. As the weeks turned into months, Williams became increasingly frustrated with her weight situation. She tried every diet and exercise plan she could find, but nothing worked.
1/ @serenawilliams nearly died after giving birth to her daughter Olympia. She identified her own symptoms of potentially deadly complications and told the doctors what she needed before it was too late.https://t.co/3FAIOlasTo pic.twitter.com/7rgHGnrBPl
— ProPublica (@propublica) January 10, 2018
Serena Williams’ postpartum weight struggles were not just personal, but they also became a point of contention with her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou. A 2018 interview with The Times revealed that he had pressured Williams to lose weight, citing concerns about her fitness and agility on the court.
Serena Williams and the tough love of her coach
For Roland Garros 2018, Mouratolglou went as far as saying, “stop breastfeeding”. “It’s too difficult you know. It’s OK you had a kid. It takes time that it takes but when you go back to the tennis court, to the competition you are ready 100% ready. From today to Roland Garros we have to give you the maximum chance to play…I prefer you go to Roland Garros with 0 matches under your belt but superfit”. Said Patrick Mourtaloglou to Serena with affirmation and commitment.
Serena Williams quotes, in her recent moving message on Maternal Health after traumatic birth experience, “EVERY mother, regardless of race, or background deserves to have a healthy pregnancy and childbirth”.#serenawilliams #alexisolympia #maternalhealth pic.twitter.com/wyTnavXb9r
— ARMMAN (@armmanindia) January 18, 2018
Mouratoglou explained that he had used tough love with Williams. He constantly said that she needed to be in better physical shape if she wanted to continue competing at the highest level. He pushed her to work out harder and eat a healthier diet, even going so far as to monitor her weight and body fat percentage.
Williams on the other hand seemed to be giving in everything for winning. “Where does this come from? It’s hard because I am doing everything. It’s not like I’m being lazy. That’s never been me. I’ve never gotten to where I’ve been without putting in the effort. I get the breastfeeding thing, that’s like the last thing for me. That’s why overnight I put up 4 kilos.” Serena said with watering eyes.
The experience with her coach was not an easy one, but it ultimately led Williams to a place of greater strength and resilience. She learned that sometimes, the people who care about us the most are the ones who push us the hardest. And even when it feels uncomfortable or unfair, it’s important to trust in their guidance and support.