“[Four] months ago I could not walk to my mailbox … but I will keep going forward and I’ll get there,” Serena Williams posted on Instagram a day after her surprising first-round loss at the Miami Open.
The Nike athlete has returned to tennis this month — leaving the game ranked No. 1 only to come back unseeded due to her 13-month maternity leave. She gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. last September.
For her first professional tournament since giving birth, Williams lost to her sister, Venus, during the third round at Indian Wells. This week at the Miami Open, Williams faced up-and-comer Naomi Osaka, who just happened to take home last week’s Indian Wells title, and she was defeated once again, this time in straight sets.
And while she decided to skip the Miami Open post-match press conference, Williams released a statement: “Every tournament is an opportunity for me to better understand the areas I need to improve to be my best. Naomi played a great match, and I learn something each time I play. I look forward to continuing my return by progressing every day. I’m so grateful for my fans who continue to support me every step of this incredible journey.”
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Despite these recent losses during her much-anticipated comeback to the sport, Williams’ fans are her constant motivators.
Yesterday, she posted on Instagram Stories a clip of people showing their support by wearing the athlete’s newly created “S” pin.
Just before her first returning professional appearance, Williams shared a way for fans to be a part of her comeback story by offering up a wearable symbol of sorts.
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It's official. My comeback is here. This Thursday I will start playing tennis again professionally for the first time since giving birth to my daughter. This whole month I am playing tournaments in California and Florida- both my home states. Thursday, the day I play my very first match, marks international women's day. My comeback could not have come on a better day and I decided I wanted to do something different let you all be apart of my long journey back (if you want of course!!) So I created my Serena Gold toned "S" pin. When I am playing you can wear it and show support not only from me but also for my charity which supports the Yetunde Price Resource center. I want this gold "S" mean something special to you personally. What is one S word in your life that means something to you? Mine is Strong and Sure! So when I wear my "S" pin I am representing Strength, and Sureness. What would your "S" mean? They are for now only available for my fans that come see my at Indian wells, and Miami starting Wednesday as well as Thursday when I play!! Sooooo if you are watching me stop by the Serena booth to grab a "S" pin. Post pics of you wearing your "S" and tag me! Thanks for the support I look forward to seeing you out there!!
She wrote, “I wanted to do something different [to] let you all be a part of my long journey back … I created my Serena Gold toned ‘S’ pin. When I am playing you can wear it and show support not only from me but also for my charity which supports the Yetunde Price Resource center. I want this gold ‘S’ mean something special to you personally. What is one S word in your life that means something to you? Mine is Strong and Sure! So when I wear my “S” pin I am representing Strength, and Sureness. What would your “S” mean?”
One thing is for certain: Williams’ comeback is far from over.