June 29, 2018
When you are a new parent preparing for your first day back at work it’s a good idea to check out the childcare arrangements.
Serena Williams and baby Alexis inspect Wimbledons childcare arrangement before going back to work
Which probably explains why Serena Williams visited the players’ creche at Wimbledon this week with her daughter Alexis Olympia, ahead of her campaign to regain the ladies singles title she last won in 2016.
Mother and baby looked around the creche as part of their preparations for the championships, with Williams no doubt hoping to acclimatise little Alexis Olympia to SW19’s childcare facilities.
The Wimbledon players’ creche is sited at the Aorangi Pavilion, at the far end of the AELTC’s grounds, near the practice courts.
Only players’ children have access to the facility and its not uncommon to see dozens of baby strollers parked outside during the tournament.
A source at the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) told The Telegraph: “Serena brought Alexis to the grounds and they had a good look round, visiting the creche to see the facilities and perhaps get her used to the surroundings.
“We do pride ourselves on the creche and we think its something the players appreciate as it makes it easier for them to fit in being a parent with being a professional athlete.”
Serena Williams and baby Alexis inspect Wimbledons childcare arrangement before going back to work
But it wasn’t just the creche that Williams wanted to show her daughter. She also wanted to show her where mummy works. It is after all the place where she has won seven Wimbledon singles titles and six doubles titles and where she it still looking to add more to her record.
The source added: “Serena even took her out onto Centre Court, which was lovely for them both - given how significant it has been for her.”
Williams later posted a photograph of Alexis Olympia sitting on the Centre Court grass on her daughter’s Instagram page.
The 36-year-old, who is married to the Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, had an emergency caesarean section when she gave birth last September. She experienced life-threatening complications which resulted in surgery to prevent blood clots travelling to her lungs.
Other players have praised the Wimbledon creche, with Tatjana Maria, the German world number 48, who returned to professional tennis after the birth of daughter Charlotte, saying: “Here [at Wimbledon] the creche is the best. You bring your children, they eat together, they do activities. It is the most beautiful thing in the world if you play a match, and after, you go to her and you see [that] to her it doesn’t matter how you play. She is always happy.”
Serena Williams and baby Alexis inspect Wimbledons childcare arrangement before going back to work
Williams, who won the Australian Open in 2017 when she was two months pregnant, has spoken about struggling after her daughter was born, revealing she once cried because she could not find her baby’s bottle.
In a recent interview she told how, like many new mothers, she now arranges her working day around her daughter.
“I feed her, and then she snuggles with me, which is the best part of my day. Then we play, and after that I sneak away to practice, usually around 8 a.m,” Williams told InStyle magazine, adding: “The only rule I have at practice is to be done at 1 p.m., because as much as I love tennis, I need to be with her. I want to put her above everything else I’m doing.”
Williams, who was unable to defend her singles title last year because of her advanced pregnancy, has been seeded 25th for this year's tournament, despite having played only three tournaments in the past 12 months and being ranked 183rd in the world.
The AELTC exercised its discretion in seeding the former champion, but the decision attracted criticism from some players, including the world number 32 Dominika Cibulkova, from Slovakia, who missed out on seeding as a result.
It is thought the AELTC had been influenced by the US Open decision to favour seedings for players returning from maternity leave.
Williams is now mulling over when she and her husband might want another baby and the impact that might have on her career.
“If I weren’t working, I’d already be pregnant,” she said. “I don’t know if I want to play if I have another baby. I need to talk to Alexis. We need a plan.”
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