Serena Williams has had a long and successful career. The American tennis player has won 23 Grand Slams in her 27-year tour (1995-2022). The best finish in the “Open Era,” but Margaret Court’s overall record (24 wins on TBS) fell a bit short.
Williams has taken a beating since coming off maternity leave in 2018. She didn’t win a single race, so Court’s achievement, though borderline, survived. In any case, the birth of a child is a bright moment in Serena’s life, which is more important than the results of the game.
And there was a really dark period when Williams suffered a terrible injury at a party after winning Wimbledon 2010. The American bounced back for a long time: she returned to the London grass-court tour just a year later. It took her a long time to get back into peak shape and celebrate winning the Slam again. We talk about Williams’ most difficult moments, when her career nearly ended early.
“You can’t do it this way!” Serious passions after Serena’s departure from the decree at Roland Garros – 2018
The celebration at the restaurant ended very sad for Serena.
On July 3, 2010, Serena Williams easily defeated Russian Vera Zvonareva (6:3, 6:2) in the Wimbledon final. It was her 13th Grand Slam victory. On July 7, in a restaurant in Munich, the 28-year-old tennis player celebrated her success in the company of her nephew and a group of friends, including her manager Jill Smoller and her sparring partner Sasha Bazhin.
The next day, Williams was to play an exhibition match with Kim Clijsters, so a slight violation of the regime was quite acceptable. Nothing boded trouble, but after the party ended, Williams stepped on broken glass and cut the soles of both legs in the dimly lit restaurant exit. Her right was especially hit. Interestingly, the name of the institution that Serena visited remained a secret. Even the famous Munich-based tabloid German tabloid Bild did not provide exclusive details of the incident.
Serena Williams celebrates victory at Wimbledon 2010 with too much violence
Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Serena received her first emergency care at a Munich hospital, where she received 18 stitches. She was able to enter the game with the Clijsters after receiving a painkiller injection with the doctors’ approval. For several days, the American simply wore a patch on her leg, at one of the social events she was even noticed in a dress with heels. However, Williams soon returned home, where numerous medical tests and unpleasant news awaited her. The tennis player underwent plastic surgery on the tendon in his right foot in Los Angeles. Originally, Serena was expected to miss at least two months.
Williams began training in September but almost immediately tore a damaged tendon. He underwent a second operation on October 15 in New York. He then spoke for the first time about what happened in Munich three months earlier.
“He was wearing sandals, so I didn’t immediately understand what happened. The pain was not strong. It looked like it was just a bruised leg. After 20 seconds, I was able to walk, although the pain only intensified. We looked down, there was glass on the floor. I thought I cut myself a bit and told my company to be careful. Then Sasha Bazhin turned on the light on her phone. We saw a large pool of blood. I said, “My God, I think something bad happened.” A week later, I returned to the US from Germany and realized something was wrong. The big toe somehow dangled strangely. The doctor said that she had a torn tendon. He added that it was not necessary for me to treat it, but in this case the defect would remain for the rest of my life. I thought about it and decided it was better to have surgery,” Williams said.
Serena Williams walked on crutches and in a cast after injury
Photo: John Parra/Getty Images
A full recovery was expected in February 2011, but just before he was scheduled to return, the American was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism. The doctors argued that a delay in the diagnosis of the disease of 1-2 days could have a fatal outcome for a tennis player. One of the injections, designed to prevent the further development of the disease, caused the formation of a huge hematoma. The return to the field was indefinitely postponed.
Serena’s nightmare was not limited to her own injuries. In early 2011, serious health problems were identified in her older sister Venus, who was diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes severe joint pain. Serena had to worry not only for herself, but for her sister as well.
The best Wimbledon champions! We rank the strongest tennis players
Serena returns to tour ahead of Wimbledon 2011
Williams began training in April, but was only able to get on the court in the summer. He returned to tour at the Eastbourne tournament that preceded Wimbledon. In the first round, Serena defeated the Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova (1:6, 6:3, 6:4). And then, in a tense match, she lost to Vera Zvonareva (6:3, 6:7, 5:7), who avenged her loss in the 2010 Wimbledon final.
By the way, Venus also made a comeback in Eastbourne. Williams Sr. made it to the third round, where she lost to Slovakian Daniela Gantukhova (2:6, 7:5, 2:6). The sisters’ simultaneous return to tour delighted tennis fans.
Serena and Venus Williams returned to tour at the same time in the summer of 2011.
Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images
Then Serena was waiting for the title defense at Wimbledon. Williams was knocked out in the fourth round, losing to Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli (3:6, 6:7). Venus stopped fighting for the title at the same stage, losing to Tsvetana Pironkova (2:6, 3:6). For Serena at the time, the result was secondary. The main thing is that all the difficulties for her and her sister were left behind and again there was an opportunity to fully engage in what they love.
“I had serious health problems. At one point, I was literally on my deathbed. The doctors said that I have several blood clots in both lungs, many people actually die from this condition, because they do not know about its existence. Also, I wore a cast for 20 weeks. I would have preferred to spend those 20 weeks in prison, because I really hated this process. To be honest, I’m not at my best right now. I need to work out on the treadmill and cross trainer. My leg was too long in one position, it wouldn’t move. Sometimes I couldn’t walk properly and do many other things, that’s a big problem. So many things happened to me that I didn’t understand why. I thought: “What have I not done or what have I done to deserve this? Why do I need all this?” I still have that insatiable desire that makes me want to win. I’m happy to be here and play. I hope tennis misses me and Venus. If tennis missed us half as much as we miss to tennis, so we are in a good position. This return is special and completely different from any other”, Serena shared her impressions.
“He refused, I thought it was sexy.” The incredible love story of Serena Williams
Williams wasn’t lying when he talked about the uniqueness of his return. Although earlier in his career there was already a long downtime with a later comeback. The American had to stop her performances for eight months in the second half of 2003, initially due to a quadriceps injury in her left knee. The recovery took about two months, but in parallel, the Williams family suffered a tragedy. In a street shooting, Yetunde Price, 31, Serena’s half-sister (on her mother’s side) and her personal assistant, was killed. Williams was able to psychologically recover from her grief only in March 2004. In 2010, the situation was even worse. Serena herself almost became a victim, and her missed period due to direct health issues was much longer.
As early as the summer of 2011, Williams won 18 of 19 matches on hard courts, won tournaments at Stanford and Toronto, and reached the US Open final. However, the first post-injury Slams win came only at Wimbledon 2012. Serena has effectively missed two years of prime time. Williams attributes this to her athletic heritage, among other things.
“There are people who say that I am not the best tennis player in history because I did not break Margaret Court’s record of 24 Slams, which she held before the Open Era began in 1968. I would be lying if I said that I do not want to break this record. Obviously I do. But day after day, I never stopped thinking about it. Maybe I thought too much about it before and it didn’t help my goal. In my opinion, he should have won more than 30 Grand Slams. I had chances after coming off maternity leave. I went from a c-section to a pulmonary embolism and the end of TBS. I played while nursing the baby. I experienced postpartum depression. But I did not achieve this result. I didn’t perform as well as I should or could. But I’ve won 23 Slams and that’s fine. Indeed, this is an extraordinary result. These days, you have to choose between building your tennis legacy or starting a family. I choose the latter,” Williams said shortly before his 2022 retirement.
Serena Williams says family is more important than sports career
Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images
Due to injuries early in the last decade, Williams missed three Grand Slam tournaments in a row: the US Open in 2010, the Australian Open and Roland Garros in 2011. In all cases, Serena would be considered the top seed. She might have performed better at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2011, as well as the Australian Open and Roland Garros in 2012, if she hadn’t had health issues. In fact, there is some truth in Serena’s words. She definitely would have at least broken Margaret Court’s record if she hadn’t been for the accident at the Munich restaurant. You could also talk about 30+ “helmets” if Serena didn’t go on maternity leave or take a break due to the death of her half-sister.
In any case, Williams has always put family first. He is raising a five-year-old girl, Olympia, married to businessman Alexis Ohanyan, and in May of this year she announced that she was expecting their second child. According to Forbes, Serena is currently worth $260 million and Williams can live happily after her retirement. Serena is still considered by many fans to be the greatest tennis player ever, despite the fact that she did not break Kort’s highly controversial Slams record (due to the level of competition prior to the Open Era)…