PARIS – With his daughter Tara born a day after Serena Williams gave birth to her first child Alexis Olympia last September, Novak Djokovic has been trading parenting tips with the American.
However, when he was asked if it’s easier to be a tennis-playing father than a continent-hopping mother on the professional tour, the Serb’s jaw appeared to hit the floor.
With an incredulous look that seemed to suggest “you cannot be serious!”, Djokovic remained mum for several seconds.
But with an expectant audience still waiting for an answer, father-of-two Djokovic finally broke the pregnant pause.
“Well, I think it’s obvious. I mean, what a woman has to go through, with the pregnancy and birth and then everything after that? I’m sorry to all the guys, but it’s much more difficult for a woman,” Djokovic said at the French Open yesterday.
“So that’s why it makes it even more impressive when they make a comeback, and especially Serena after all she has done,” added the Serb.
Over the same period of time, only Kim Clijsters has managed to win majors after returning from a maternity break. But while Clijsters had won only one of her four majors before giving birth to daughter Jada in 2008, Williams had claimed 23 Grand Slam titles.
Instead of calling it quits, Williams, who won the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant, is making her Grand Slam comeback at Roland Garros this week.
“It’s not like she never won a slam and now she wants to come back because she has something to achieve from that perspective,” added the 31-year-old Djokovic.
“After all she has achieved, to see her back, it’s impressive. It’s inspiring. It really is.
“She’s the greatest female athlete of all time, probably. She uses tennis as a platform to do good things and that’s why she’s back. You can see how much she loves it.
“I love Serena. All the superlatives and beautiful words that you can think of she deserves it.”