Australian Open 2017

Expectant mum Serena Williams aims for ‘outrageous’ Australian Open comeback

American is expecting her first child next month but is already targeting a defence of her title in Melbourne in January

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 August, 2017, 10:38am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 August, 2017, 10:38am

Serena Williams, feeling “new power” from her pregnancy, is already preparing for an Australian Open title defence in January.

Williams said during her pregnancy lay-off she had kept a close eye on the tennis world, including her sister Venus’s run to the Wimbledon final.

And she has her eye on matching Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 grand slam titles after she was already pregnant when she won her 23rd at the Australian Open in January.

“It’s the most outrageous plan,” the 36-year-old Williams, who is expecting her first child next month, told Vogue.

“I just want to put that out there. That’s, like, three months after I give birth. I’m not walking anything back, but I’m just saying it’s pretty intense.

“Obviously, if I have a chance to go out there and catch up with Margaret, I am not going to pass that up. If anything, this pregnancy has given me a new power.”

Williams says she’s had a “love-hate relationship with the idea of power” as it relates to her game, sometimes irked that her skill and strategy seemed to be overlooked.

Serena Williams poses nude on Vanity Fair cover ... and reveals planned date for tennis return

“As I’ve gotten older I’ve started to feel differently about it. Power is beauty. Strength is beauty. So now on the court I want people to think that I’m powerful,” she said.

But she’s dismayed to think that many interpret her on-court determination as “mean” – something she believes has to do with race.

“I feel like people think I’m mean,” she says. “Really tough and really mean and really street. I believe that the other girls in the locker room will say, ‘Serena’s really nice.’

But Maria Sharapova, who might not talk to anybody, might be perceived by the public as nicer. Why is that? Because I’m black and so I look mean?

“That’s the society we live in. That’s life. They say African-Americans have to be twice as good, especially women. I’m perfectly OK with having to be twice as good.”