Lindsay Davenport says she finds it hard to imagine that Serena Williams will return to tennis after having a baby.
On Wednesday, Williams announced on Snapchat that she was 20 weeks pregnant, a fact confirmed by spokesperson Kelly Bush Novak.
Bush Novak also said that Williams – whose is expecting in autumn and who will miss the remainder of the season – will attempt to make a comeback in 2018.
Davenport, however, is not so sure.
“I would say that’s a very long shot, if I had to guess at her age and also the injuries she’s been having,” she said in a phone interview with Mary Carillo and Tracy Austin on Tennis Channel.
“She has looked so incredibly happy the last six to eight months, maybe even longer. You could see it in Australia, and getting engaged, just this nice aura she had around her, of being engaged, finding true love and obviously now having a baby.
“I would be very surprised if she did come back and start playing again.”
Davenport, a three-time major champion and Hall of Famer who herself returned to tennis after having a baby, wondered aloud what this meant for the women’s game.
Williams owns 23 major titles, one win short of Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles, which Court achieved across both the amateur and professional eras.
“I first heard the rumour (about Serena’s pregnancy), gosh, I don’t know, about a month ago. At that point I remember trying to process it, trying to think, wow, so happy for her, but how this changes the landscape and how players (now) perceive their chances at majors and will she break (Court’s) all-time record?” Davenport said.
“Not only are we talking about Serena having a baby, but also about the history of women’s tennis and how it affects that.
“And then just how much respect that everyone has for Serena playing the Australian Open – obviously she would have been in the early stages of pregnancy (and) being able to come through there, not only physically but also the stress emotionally. She’s pretty remarkable.
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