Serena Williams revealed in a story published by Vogue on Wednesday that she dealt with multiple medical complications surrounding the birth of her daughter, Alexis Olympia, in September.
Williams said an emergency C-section was required after the baby’s heart rate dropped during contractions. Williams then had a number of post-childbirth procedures after discovering several small blood clots had settled in the new mother’s lungs.
Williams said her C-section incision reopened due to intense coughing spells caused by the pulmonary embolism, and that she had a filter inserted into a major vein to prevent blood clots from reaching her lungs.
“She spent the first six weeks of motherhood unable to get out of bed,” the article details.
Williams previously battled blood clots in her lungs in March 2011 after she cut her foot in July 2010. The ailment kept her from competing for a year.
Despite the health scare and now being a mom, Williams also said in the interview that she’s not ready to give up her tennis career at 36 years old.
“To be honest, there’s something really attractive about the idea of moving to San Francisco and just being a mom,” Williams told Vogue. “But not yet. Maybe this goes without saying, but it needs to be said in a powerful way: I absolutely want more Grand Slams. I’m well aware of the record books, unfortunately. It’s not a secret that I have my sights on 25.”
Williams has won 23 Grand Slam titles in her career, one shy of tying the record held by Margaret Court.
Williams announced her withdrawal from the Australian Open last week, saying she is not ready to return to tournament tennis after losing in an exhibition tournament to Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko.
“I can compete — but I don’t want to just compete, I want to do far better than that and to do so, I will need a little more time,” Williams said in a statement at the time.
She told Vogue she believes being a mother might help her to improve on the court.
“I think having a baby might help,” Williams said. “When I’m too anxious I lose matches, and I feel like a lot of that anxiety disappeared when Olympia was born. Knowing I’ve got this beautiful baby to go home to makes me feel like I don’t have to play another match. I don’t need the money or the titles or the prestige. I want them, but I don’t need them. That’s a different feeling for me.”
–Field Level Media