London - Her decision to stop breastfeeding so that she could resume her reign on court brought her to tears.
And now Serena Williams has revealed that her coach was the one who convinced her to make that sacrifice.
Patrick Mouratoglou told the tennis champion to stop breastfeeding her daughter Alexis Olympia at eight months in May after her struggle to lose weight.
"It’s absolutely hard to take from a guy", she told Time magazine. "He’s not a woman, he doesn’t understand that connection, that the best time of the day for me was when I tried to feed her."
She said she enjoyed breastfeeding so much because it was a "magical superpower" to make her daughter happy and calm. However, Williams has previously spoken about how hard she found it to return to form while breastfeeding.
The US documentary series Being Serena revealed she weighed 14.6 stone in April 2018, 3.5 stone more than her usual weight. In the programme, her coach said: "It’s all about getting the results that we want, and the results we want is that you play and you win.
"So the question is how to do that. The first thing is: stop breastfeeding. Because the problem is you’re too heavy.
"You are stocking a lot of fat. To practise feeling super heavy, the effort is a joke. It’s too difficult."
Williams, 36, gave birth to her daughter in September. She has been facing the challenge of balancing motherhood with her demanding training regime. Last week she said she didn’t feel like a good mother because of fears she was not doing enough for her daughter. She also said she had cried after missing her first steps during training.
In July, the 23-time Grand Slam winner suffered the worst loss of her 20-year professional career in a match that lasted just 51 minutes.
After she stopped breastfeeding, she said she dropped ten pounds in a week - but the experience was difficult. "I literally sat Olympia in my arms and I talked to her and we prayed about it," she said. "And I told her, 'Look, I’m gonna stop. Mommy has to do this.' I cried a little bit – not as much as I thought I would. And she was fine.'"