Serena Williams ‘paved the way’ for mothers to keep playing tennis, says Martina Navratilova
Serena Williams isn’t the only one who understands how difficult it can be for a mother to watch her child play tennis when she’s a spectator.
Martina Navratilova also understands that ‘there’s something about a mother’s heart that is stronger than anything.’
The two women are good friends and they met shortly after Navratilova won the 1996 US Open, beating Margaret Court in a final that Navratilova described as a ‘goddamn walk in the park’ in front of her 14,000-strong crowd.
Williams, 30, is the first American player to reach the last eight in the singles tournament at the French Open since Maria Sharapova in 2006.
Navratilova, who won the French Open singles title in 1983, admits she is a tennis junkie and understands what it’s like to watch a mother, with her own personal demons and career problems, giving up tennis to watch her child play.
‘The one thing I’ve always found impressive about the mothers who support their children, you don’t hear about that other than the time somebody had to give her up,’ Navratilova said in an interview with CNN, where she discusses the emotional toll the tournament can take.
‘If the mother says “I’m going to quit playing tennis because my child wants to play tennis too,” that’s one thing but there are other forces – the coach and the child and the child’s father, as well. The pressure the children are under is the reason why these sacrifices are probably made.
‘Every mother knows what it’s like. It’s a nightmare. You feel trapped