Serena Williams’ Coach Patrick Mouratoglou Urged the Tennis Star to Stop Breastfeeding Her Daughter Alexis Olympia
Serena Williams, 36, wasn’t ready to hang up her racket after the birth of her daughter Alexis Olympia. The tennis champ still wanted to compete and get back onto the court. But as a new mama, Williams had to make some sacrifices to get back into competing staus shape.
One of those sacrifices was to stop breastfeeding her daughter and it was her coach Patrick Mouratoglou that urged her to do so. In an interview for Time Magazine, Serena talks candidly about that moment. She decided to take the advice of her coach and it wasn’t an easy one.
“If you want to be successful in tennis, tennis has to be priority No 1,” Serena’s coach said to Time magazine’s cover published on August 16.
Williams welcomed her daughter Alexis Olympia with husband Alexis Ohanian, 35, in September 2017. It was a hard pill to swallow for Williams to take the advice from her coach on a topic that he would never have to contemplate.
“It’s absolutely hard to take from a guy,” she told Time. “He’s not a woman, he doesn’t understand that connection, that the best time of the day for me was when I tried to feed her. I’ve spent my whole life making everyone happy, just servicing it seems like everyone. And this is something I wanted to do.”
The Grand Slam champ knew what she needed to do to get herself back in the game, so the mama had a chat with her baby girl and did what she had to do for the love of her sport. Williams recalled the moment she had a mother-daughter chat with her princess.
“I looked at Olympia, and I was like, ‘Listen, Mommy needs to get her body back, so Mommy’s going to stop now,’” the athlete recalled. “We had a really good conversation. We talked it out.”
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No modern athlete who has reached @serenawilliams' level of stardom has ever returned from so difficult a childbirth, at her age, in a grueling individual sport like #tennis, to claim a major global championship. And since #Wimbledon, she’s faced a particularly rough stretch in her personal life. The man who killed her older sister Yetunde Price was released from prison. The postpartum symptoms haven’t fully gone away, and she says separating herself from Olympia, her 11-month-old daughter with her husband, tech entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian, has become even harder. Why keep at it? “I’m not done yet, simple,” she tells TIME. She needs tennis as much as her sport needs her. It’s the one thing, as a mother, she can do solely for herself. “My story doesn’t end here.” Serena has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, one short of Margaret Court’s all-time record. The U.S. Open, which begins on Aug. 27 in New York City, is her last chance to even the score this year. Read this week's full cover story about her complicated comeback, motherhood and making time to be selfish on TIME.com. Photograph by @alessandra_sanguinetti—@magnumphotos for TIME
Williams has also been an open book with her struggles with mom guilt and balancing work and motherhood. In July, the tennis star tweeted about the moment she found out she had learned that her daughter had taken her first steps and had missed the monumental moment. Serena admitted at that moment she had a complete emotional meltdown.
The Being Serena star explained to the magazine, “Sometimes she just wants Mommy, she doesn’t want anyone else. I still have to learn a balance of being there for her, and being there for me. I am working on it. I never understood women before, when they put themselves in second or third place. And it’s so easy to do. It’s so easy to do.”