Serena Williams’ shock Wimbledon comeback means there will be at least two mums in the women’s singles at SW19 this year – and Tatjana Maria is eager to keep showing parenthood does not have to spell the end of your tennis career.
The 34-year-old German is set to step on court at the All England Club for the first time since giving birth to her second child Cecilia last April.
It meant Maria missed her favourite major of the year in 2021 but she returns this time knowing the omens are good.
Her best run at Wimbledon occurred seven years ago when she made the third round in her first appearance at SW19 as a mother following Charlotte’s birth at the end of 2013.
“My first one she is so happy to go back to show the little one the day care because it is the best day care,” Maria told the PA news agency.
“I love Wimbledon. Grass is my favourite surface, I try to play as much as possible and I just love to play Wimbledon.
“I am pretty confident with the surface and you have to be lucky with the draw because I am not seeded, but if I am lucky with the draw, I hope I can go pretty far and let’s see if I can do better than my third round this time.”
Maria will play in the Wimbledon main draw for a 10th time this summer and is excited to bring both her girls to the championships.
She returned to action within months of Cecilia’s birth but knows not everyone has the same circumstances, with her husband, Charles-Edouard Maria, also doubling up as her coach and now the coach of their eldest daughter, eight-year-old Charlotte.
World number 106 Maria added: “I mean we chose a different life for both of them in the end.
“They will both do online school, they will travel all around the world and Charlotte is playing so good and loving it, so I guess we will continue to do this for a long time.
“It is nice. For me it is only positive and the most important was always we were together as a family because I would never have travelled alone. It is not for me and it is important for my kids also to see the world, have these options and that is what we do.
“During Covid, we were at home for one-and-a-half years and we didn’t move at all. It was the first time in our lives and we realised it was not how we want to live.”
More mums would have been at Wimbledon were Russian and Belarussian athletes not banned due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, with Belarusian Victoria Azarenka a notable absentee, while Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina recently announced she was pregnant.
Williams and Maria met as parents in the first round at the Australian Open three years ago and the German is eager to provide further evidence that elite sportswomen can thrive in motherhood.
Maria said: “I mean, that is what I would like to do for players. To let them see this is possible and you can do it.
“My husband is my coach and also the coach of Charlotte, so it makes it easier for sure because we can travel all together and do everything all together, but in general I hope there are more players out there who see you can have a child and continue your career.”
And she knows life on the WTA tour may not end any time soon either.
“Charlotte is playing super good tennis and she is realising everything by herself now,” Maria said.
“She is watching the matches and loves to be at the tournaments. For me that is the most pleasure I can have as a mum to see her enjoying this so much.”