In 2017, Serena Williams won the 23rd Grand Slam crown of her illustrious career at the Australian Open, fittingly against her older sister, Venus Williams. A few months later, it emerged that Serena was eight weeks pregnant when she triumphed in Melbourne.
After giving birth to her first child, Olympia, in September 2017, Williams resumed training and rejoined the tour in March 2018. She played in just seven WTA tournaments that year but, impressively, made two Grand Slam finals losing to Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon and Naomi Osaka at the US Open.
Clijsters, who won three of her four majors after becoming a mother, believes Serena's achievements after giving birth have not garnered sufficient acclaim. The Belgian remains the last WTA player to win a Grand Slam title as a mother and the only one to do so since 1980.
In 2019, Williams came close again but stumbled at the final hurdle. She was comprehensively beaten by Simona Halep at Wimbledon, and another upstart denied her one last swansong at the US Open when Bianca Andreesu took home the ultimate prize.
Clijsters opined that there is no workaround for why no WTA player has won a Grand Slam since returning to the tour as a mother in recent years. Still, she is optimistic that it will happen, given the competitive nature and depth of the current players.
"I don’t think there’s a clear answer as to why no one has done it since. Serena Williams has been very close."
"I feel like a lot of times she didn’t get enough credit for being in all those grand slam finals after having her daughter. The narrative is ‘she didn’t make it’ and it takes away from the level she was playing. I think it will happen. I think it’s just the competitive nature and depth of our sport that has increased from when I was younger."