Angelique Kerber is taking it a little easier these days. Instead of rushing across the hard courts of the Australian Open in the summer heat, the 34-year-old dedicates herself to her pregnancy without any sporting stress. Your racquet will remain largely untouched this spring.
But that should change again after the birth. Kerber definitely wants to reconcile child and career – and is not alone in the tennis scene. More and more top players apparently dare to do the difficult balancing act. The four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka is also in different circumstances, the former top ten player Elina Svitolina gave birth in October. Top tennis is experiencing something of a “baby boom”.
“I do think it’s a new development,” said national coach Barbara Rittner to “SID”: “In my time it was always clear: if you get pregnant, you have to stop.”
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Those times seem to be over. Rittner sees it as progress in emancipation “that they dare themselves more and more and actually remind themselves: Hey, I can have a baby, but I’ll still come back afterwards.”
Maria is committed to mothers
Kerber, Osaka and Co. have prominent predecessors. The US icon Serena Williams, who is no longer active, the two-time Australian Open winner Wiktoria Asarenka and the now retired world number one Kim Clijsters have all played as tennis moms in recent years. And of course the success story of Tatjana Maria, who reached the semi-finals in Wimbledon last year as a mother of two, is very present.
The 35-year-old also always used the attention to point out the situation on the tour that she saw as clearly expandable. “It’s super important that mothers get more help on the WTA tour,” she said of the “Sportschau”: “There are more and more who come back and play tennis well.”
For example, an extra rule should be introduced for the ranking and a pregnancy should not be counted as an injury. Childcare is also not provided in many places, so there is still room for improvement.
Nonetheless, Kerber and Co. are advancing courageously. “It’s not easy to combine family and work, I’m aware of that,” she recently told Iconist magazine: “My wish is to make both possible.” And possibly whet again on the hard court in Australia in the coming year. As a young mom.
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