Mama Don’t Take No Net: Serena Williams Comes Off Maternity Leave, Shows She’s Still Boss at French Open

Serena Williams prior to her ladies’ singles first-round match against Kristyna Plíšková of the Czech Republic during day 3 of the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros on May 29, 2018, in Paris
Photo: Cameron Spencer (Getty Images)

Serena Williams came back from maternity leave ready to stunt on her “co-workers” at the French Open. Having her rank knocked down to No. 453 in the world just because she took time off to have, love and care for her baby Olympia meant nothing in the grand scheme of things when Williams came back from a deficit to beat Ashleigh Barty of Australia and advance to the third round on Wednesday.


The last grand-slam tournament Williams played in was 16 months ago, when she won the Australian Open. It was later revealed that she was pregnant when she did that. She had her daughter in September.

ESPN reports that for the first half-hour of her second-round match, Williams played exactly as you would expect her to, considering the amount of time she had been away, but it didn’t take her long to catch her stride again. She beat Barty 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Williams told the crowd after her match: “I lost the first set, and I thought, ‘I’ve got to try harder. I’ve got to just try harder.’ And Serena came out.”

Maybe her catsuit really did give her some powers from Wakanda.


Williams will also be playing doubles with her sister Venus.

“Every day is a great day for me,” the new mother said. “I’m going to be here, fighting my heart out. It’s a great feeling.”


In the third round, Williams goes up against 11th-seeded Julia Goerges of Germany.

A third-round win would see her face either Maria Sharapova or Karolina Plíšková—whose twin sister, Kristyna, Williams beat in the first round.

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Monique Judge

News Editor for The Root. I said what I said. Period.