"I was just devastated, I felt so guilty; I got like 30 minutes of sleep" - When Serena Williams recalled Olympia's injury during 2018 French Open


Serena Williams has revealed that an injury suffered by her daughter Olympia during the 2018 French Open scared the living daylights out of her, due to which she only got 30 minutes of sleep before a match.

The 2018 Roland Garros was far from a memorable experience for Williams, who eventually withdrew due to injury ahead of her fourth-round clash against Maria Sharapova. It was also her first Grand Slam since giving birth to daughter Olympia in late 2017.

Speaking on the Archetypes podcast with Meghan Markle, Williams opened up about the "crazy experience" from that edition of the French Open - which is also the edition when her medically-advised 'catsuit' received criticism from some corners.

"I'll never forget this is a crazy experience. I don't think I've ever, like, said anything about it publicly. At the French Open, it was, that year I wore that infamous catsuit. The one piece, black," Serena Williams said.

Williams explained that she wore the catsuit outfit for health purposes after giving birth to Olympia.

Continuing her conversation with Markle, the 23-time Major champion revealed that her daughter broke her wrist in Paris that year when she fell off a chair despite being carefully watched. That incident made her feel extremely miserable and guilty.

"So that year I had Olympia and I had a match the next day and that night, she fell out of her high chair and broke her wrist. And she was on my watch. And I was just basically devastated. Like, I literally couldn't think. I felt so guilty. I just, anyway. So she fell," she said.

Williams recalled how she rushed her daughter to the hospital and only returned at four in the morning. Despite a match scheduled for her that morning, the American managed to get only 30 minutes of sleep as she refused to let her daughter out of her sight.

"We went to the hospital and she had a small tear, a break in her wrist, so she had to get a cast and we didn't get back ‘til like four in the morning. Meanwhile, of course, it is the one day I was playing early," Williams recalled.
"I remember holding her the whole night and just like rocking her to sleep and I just didn't let her out of my sight at that point because I was already and I'm hard on myself, and I’m a little bit of a perfectionist. But I was so mad at myself for even allowing that to happen. So I think I got like 30 minutes of sleep and then I had to go play this match. And I'm just thinking, how am I going to play?" she added.
Serena Williams sporting her catsuit at the 2018 French Open
Serena Williams sporting her catsuit at the 2018 French Open

Serena Williams, who went on to win her match, explained that she was thoroughly spent after the ordeal. Marveling at how her mother, Oracene, managed to raise five kids, she stressed that she was ready to do anything for Olympia.

"I somehow managed to win, but I was so emotionally spent and just like so emotionally drained that it was, it was crazy. And, you know, and then like every night after that, I just was with her the whole time and was like you're going to be with me," Williams continued.
"I just took a lot on. But moms do a lot. Like I look at my mom, I don't know how she had five kids. I don't know. And I would drop anything at any time to whatever I had to do for Olympia. Middle of a Grand Slam final. I would leave if I had to," she stated.

"People always ask me, how do you do the mom/work balance?" - Serena Williams to Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle watches Serena Williams in action at the 2019 US Open
Meghan Markle watches Serena Williams in action at the 2019 US Open

While speaking to Meghan Markle, Serena Williams also revealed that people are always curious about how she deals with her work/life balance. She pointed out she often reminds her husband Alexis Ohanian that fathers have it easier than mothers when it comes to managing their work/life balance.

"People always ask me, how do you do the mom/work balance? And even my husband, he talks about this all the time," Williams said, adding, "He's like, they never ask me that. I'm like, No, because you're a dad now, too. You never have to worry about why are you doing this? Or how do you balance your time? And um, so it’s, it’s always different."

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Edited by Anirudh
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