Tennis champ Serena Williams lobbed a major compliment to Kate Middleton, expressing her awe at the Duchess of Cambridge’s picture-perfect poise following the arrival of her third child on April 23.
A mere seven hours after giving birth, Middleton appeared on the steps of London’s St. Mary’s Hospital alongside her husband, Prince William, to show off their new baby son to crowds of eager onlookers. Many mothers around the world — Williams included — were amazed that Middleton managed to slip into a chic dress and 4-inch heels so soon after her delivery and make it look easy. “Kate was dressed, and I was like, ‘Oh, maybe she had him a couple days ago,’” the 23-time Grand Slam champion told PopSugar yesterday. “That’s one heck of a woman. Let me tell you: I was not in heels [after I gave birth]. I thought she gave birth maybe two days before. Wow!”
Still, Williams has proved she’s one fierce mother, too. Not only did she manage to win the 2017 Australian Open while eight weeks pregnant, but she returned to the court only five months after welcoming her daughter, Alexis, with husband Alexis Ohanian in September 2017. Her speedy return to tennis was all the more remarkable considering the many serious complications she suffered following her cesarean section delivery.
In addition to developing several small blood clots in her lungs, Williams’ surgical incision reopened during a coughing spell. The Nike athlete also developed a large hematoma in her abdomen that had to be surgically treated. A second operation was required to insert a filter into a major vein to prevent more clots from dislodging and traveling to her lungs. Williams was forced to spend six weeks in bed recovering, making it difficult for her to be as hands-on with her new baby as she would have liked.
But in true Williams fashion, she quickly overcame her health issues and battled her way back into her sport, once again showing the grit and determination that have underpinned her triumphant career. “I’ve been playing tennis since before my memories started,” she told Vogue. “At my age, I see the finish line. And when you see the finish line, you don’t slow down. You speed up.”