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From Serena Williams to Kim Clijsters - Meet the supermoms of tennis

Serena Williams, who returns to the court for the first time in over 15 months after becoming a mother, will be aiming to join a select list of tennis players who have achieved Grand Slam success after motherhood.

tennis Updated: May 29, 2018 22:19 IST
Sarthak Bal
Sarthak Bal
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Serena Williams,Kim Clijsters,Linday Davenport
Kim Clijsters victorious holds the US Open trophy with daughter Jada Ellie. The Belgian would win three titles after becoming a mother.(Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)

They say motherhood makes you stronger and maybe it does.

For former world number 1 Serena Williams, who returns to the court for the first time in over 15 months after becoming a mother, the case is yet to be argued.

The American star, winner of 23 Grand Slam titles -- the most recent of which came in the Australian Open in 2017 while she was two months pregnant -- defeated Czech Kristyna Pliskova in the French Open first round on Tuesday.

We highlight some of the women who have come back to the court after becoming mothers.

Margaret Court

Australian legend Margaret Court won 24 Grand Slam titles in her career -- one more than Serena Williams’ current tally. She had won 21 Grand Slam titles before taking a break in 1971 and 1972 to give birth to her first child, Daniel. But she would return in 1973 to win the Australian, French and US Open before giving birth to her second child the following year. The icon though, did not manage to win any more Grand Slam titles thereafter.

Grand slams before giving birth: 21

Grand slams after giving birth: 3

Evonne Goolagong Cawley

Australian player Evonne Goolagong Cawley had already won three consecutive Australian Open titles from 1974-76, a French Open and a Wimbledon before she decided to take a break late in 1976 after finding that she was pregnant. She returned after giving birth to daughter Kelly in May, 1977 to win that year’s second Australian Open tournament in December. She also won Wimbledon in 1980, her seventh singles triumph.

Grand Slams before giving birth: 5

Grand Slams after giving birth: 2

Lindsay Davenport

American Lindsay Davenport had already triumphed at three Grand Slam events, winning her first major tournament at the US Open in 1998 followed by the Wimbledon in 1999 and the Australian Open in 2000. She gave birth to son Jagger in June 2007, and just three months later the former world number one was back on tour and won a title in Bali. She did not however manage to add to her three Grand Slam singles crowns.

Grand Slams before giving birth: 3

Grand Slams after giving birth: 0

Kim Clijsters

The Belgian is the most recent to taste success in a Grand Slam tournament after becoming a mother. After rapidly rising to the No 1 rank by 2003, she won her first major title in 2005 at the US Open. Clijsters would give birth to daughter Jada in 2008 before returning as an unranked player in 2009 and winning that year’s US Open. She won two more major titles (US Open 2010/Australian Open 2011) before retiring in September 2012.

Grand Slams before giving birth: 1

Grand Slams after giving birth: 3

Victoria Azarenka

After breaking onto the scene in 2003, the Belarusian-turned-Californian won her first major title in 2012 at the Australian Open and followed it up with another next year at the same place. Azarenka gave birth to son Leo last December before returning to the tour in June. Since then, she has lost in the second round of her first event in Majorca and then reached the fourth round of Wimbledon.

Grand Slams before giving birth: 2

Grand Slams after giving birth: 0

First Published: May 29, 2018 22:17 IST