Martina Navratilova says that Serena Williams paved the way for mothers to continue playing tennis

Martina Navratilova, a tennis great, believes that more women will continue playing professional tennis after having children – thanks largely to Serena Williams.

Williams, 41, retired last month from tennis. Her legacy extends well beyond her 23 grand Slam titles. The last one she won in 2017 at the Australian Open, while she was pregnant with Olympia.

The following year, she made her return and won four grand finals. She eschewed the idea that motherhood and a successful tennis career can’t be combined.

According to Navratilova Williams has influenced a new mindset than when she dominated the sport during the 1970s and 1980s.

“For women, it was either-or. But Serena has shown that you can have both.” The former world No. 1 said that many other mothers have done well on the tour. 1 stated.

“The main reason we didn’t see it was because there were a few – the care wasn’t there, there wasn’t the money, and women simply chose to have children, and then they didn’t come back.

“But now, I think Serena kinda paved the path for motherhood and to continue being an athlete. You will see more women playing into their 30s and possibly into their 40s.

Williams is not the only one who has blazed a trail for mothers looking to continue their tennis careers.

Tatjana Maria, a mother of two, reached her first grand final semifinal at Wimbledon earlier this year. Victoria Azarenka, however, has consistently ranked within the top 20 of the world’s best players since the birth of her son Leo in 2016. Navratilova holds the WTA Tour’s record for all-time titles of 167 titles. She had a long career that saw her win 18 grand slam singles titles as well as 31 grand slam doubles titles. 10 grand slam combined doubles titles were also won.

‘Better care’

She retired from singles at 38 in 1994 and continued to play doubles, winning titles, into her 40s.

As a broadcaster, coach, and ambassador for WTA Tour, she has remained active in the sport. She highlighted the importance of regular checkups to fight specific diseases like breast cancer – which Navratilova was first diagnosed within 2010.

She has seen the sport evolve, especially when it comes down to player longevity, since her retirement.

Navratilova believes that players will have a longer careers than they did in her day. This is following the example of Williams and Roger Federer who both recently played their final match at 41.

She says, “People can take better care of themselves with the money that’s in Tennis.” “The most important thing is the knowledge we have about how to care for our bodies better. This will help players prolong their careers.

“Maybe (players) won’t play as many games every year, but they will play longer and have better quality.” All of this is happening now, with better mental health and care than ever before.

Navratilova says Williams’ retirement will create a void in tennis – “the electricity she brought to the stadium [was amazing]” she said – but she believes the sport’s future is in “great hands” thanks to world No. 1 Iga Swiatek.

The Polish star won her third grand title, and second of the year, at the US Open in Sept. and looks set to add to her total at 21 – especially on clay.

“We can’t replace a Roger Federer, a Serena Williams,” says Navratilova. “But we can bring in new people that will make us feel better and keep us entertained hopefully for many decades to come.”

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