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How Serena Williams Saved Her Own Life

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Serena Williams

Black women are nearly three times more likely to die after childbirth than white women. Serena Williams was almost one of them. Here, in her own words, she tells her story.

My body has belonged to tennis for so long. I gripped my first racket at age 3 and played my first pro game at 14. The sport has torn me up: I’ve rolled my ankles, busted my knees, played with a taped-up Achilles heel, and quit midgame from back spasms. I’ve suffered every injury imaginable, and I know my body.
Serena Williams and Husband anniversary
When I found out I was pregnant two days before the 2017 Australian Open, my body had already switched allegiances. Its purpose, as far as it was concerned, was to grow and nurture this baby that had seemingly materialized, unplanned. Being pregnant wasn’t something I could tell Alexis over the phone; I told him to fly out to Melbourne right away. When he got here, I handed him a paper bag filled with six positive pregnancy tests I had taken all in one afternoon.

Of course, being pregnant didn’t mean I couldn’t play tennis. I was scheduled to compete at eight weeks along. I wasn’t sure how the Open would go; during training, I was getting more fatigued between points. Each morning—and I’m not a morning person to begin with—I was still determined to play fast and hard before the Melbourne heat socked me. I won seven matches, all in straight sets.
Serena WIlliams mini dress
Since I’ve had my baby, the stakes of the game have shifted for me. I have 23 Grand Slams to my name, more than any other active player. But winning is now a desire and no longer a need. I have a beautiful daughter at home; I still want the titles, the success, and the esteem, but it’s not my reason for waking up in the morning. There is more to teach her about this game than winning. I’ve learned to dust myself off after defeat, to stand up for what matters at any cost, to call out for what’s fair—even when it makes me unpopular. Giving birth to my baby, it turned out, was a test for how loud and how often I would have to call out before I was finally heard.

“Giving birth to my baby, it turned out, was a test for how loud and how often I would have to call out before I was finally heard.”

Let’s go back to the beginning. My first trimester brought headaches and a weird metallic taste in my mouth, but all in all, I had a wonderful pregnancy. I guess I’m one of those women who likes being pregnant; I enjoyed the positive attention. I’m used to getting negative attention from the press and critics, but this was different. I settled into a whole new way of being. I was relaxed not playing: my life was just sitting at home, and it was wonderful. I still had plenty of work to do, but my focus narrowed to keeping myself healthy for the baby.
Serena Williams
Don’t ask me why, but I was obsessed with having the baby in September, so I put off the doctors when they wanted to induce me in late August. I finally went in on August 31, and they inserted a little pill inside of me to get things going. Contractions started shortly after that, and it was great! I know that’s not what people are supposed to say, but I was enjoying it, the work of labor. I was completely in the moment. I loved the cramps. I loved feeling my body trying to push the baby out. I wasn’t on an epidural; to get through it, I was using my breath and all the techniques I’d learned from birth training (I had taken every birthing class that the hospital had to offer).

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By the next morning, the contractions were coming harder and faster. With each one, my baby’s heart rate plummeted. I was scared. I thought I should probably get an epidural, but I was still okay with the work so I didn’t. Every time the baby’s heart rate dropped, the nurses would come in and tell me to turn onto my side. The baby’s heart rate would go back up and everything seemed fine. I’d have another contraction, and baby’s heart rate would drop again, but I’d turn over and the rate would go back up, and so on and so forth.

“Being an athlete is so often about controlling your body, wielding its power, but it’s also about knowing when to surrender.”
Alexis Ohanian and Serena Williams move
Outside my birthing room, there were meetings going on without me—my husband was conferencing with the doctors. By this point, I was more than ready for the epidural, but after 20 minutes, the doctor walked in, looked at me, and said, “We’re giving you a C-section.” She made it clear that there wasn’t time for an epidural or more pushing. I loved her confidence; had she given me the choice between more pushing or surgery, I would have been ruined. I’m not good at making decisions. In that moment, what I needed most was that calm, affirmative direction. Since it was my first child, I really wanted to have the baby vaginally, but I thought to myself, “I’ve had so many surgeries, what’s another one?” Being an athlete is so often about controlling your body, wielding its power, but it’s also about knowing when to surrender. I was happy and relieved to let go; the energy in the room totally changed. We went from this intense, seemingly endless process to a clear plan for bringing this baby into the world.

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I was nervous about meeting my baby. Throughout my pregnancy, I’d never felt a connection with her. While I loved being pregnant, I didn’t have that amazing Oh my God, this is my baby moment, ever. It’s something people don’t usually talk about, because we’re supposed to be in love from the first second. Yes, I was a lioness who would protect her baby at any cost, but I wasn’t gushing over her. I kept waiting to feel like I knew her during pregnancy, but the feeling never came. Some of my mom friends told me they didn’t feel the connection in the womb either, which made me feel better, but still, I longed for it.
Serena Williams mum
When I finally saw her—and I just knew it was going to be a girl, that was one thing I knew about her before we even had it confirmed—I loved her right away. It wasn’t exactly instantaneous, but it was there, and from that seed, it grew. I couldn’t stop staring at her, my Olympia.

I spent the night in the hospital with my baby in the room. When I woke up, she was nestled in my arms. The rest of my body was paralyzed. I couldn’t get out of bed because my legs were still numb, but it didn’t matter. Alexis and I sat there, alone with our new baby. It was surreal to feel the presence of this third person in the room. Who was this new little creature?

So much of what happened after that is still a blur. I may have passed out a few times. In my haze, I wondered if I should ask someone about my drip. In 2010, I learned I had blood clots in my lungs—clots that, had they not been caught in time, could have killed me. Ever since then, I’ve lived in fear of them returning. It wasn’t a one-off; I’m at high risk for blood clots. I asked a nurse, “When do I start my heparin drip? Shouldn’t I be on that now?”

The response was, “Well, we don’t really know if that’s what you need to be on right now.” No one was really listening to what I was saying. The logic for not starting the blood thinners was that it could cause my C-section wound to bleed, which is true. Still, I felt it was important and kept pressing. All the while, I was in excruciating pain. I couldn’t move at all—not my legs, not my back, nothing.

I began to cough. The nurses warned me that coughing might burst my stitches, but I couldn’t help it. The coughs became racking, full-body ordeals. Every time I coughed, sharp pains shot through my wound.

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They were trying to talk to me, and all I could think was, “I’m dying, I’m dying. Oh my God.”

I couldn’t breathe. I was coughing because I just couldn’t get enough air. I grabbed a towel, rolled it up, and put it over my incision. Sure enough, I was hacking so hard that my stitches burst. I went into my first surgery after the C-section to get restitched.
Serena Williams popcorn
After that, I thought, “Well, now we’re all set.” Little did I realize that this would be the first of many surgeries. I wasn’t coughing for nothing; I was coughing because I had an embolism, a clot in one of my arteries. The doctors would also discover a hematoma, a collection of blood outside the blood vessels, in my abdomen, then even more clots that had to be kept from traveling to my lungs. That’s what the medical report says, anyway. To me, it was just a fog of surgeries, one after another.

My husband left—to get food and shower back at the house—and this started a trend in which every time he’d try to leave, I’d wind up back in the operating room. I had to get a second surgery, and before he could get home, he had to come right back. When I woke up from that surgery, in the hospital room with my parents and my in-laws, I felt like I was dying. They were trying to talk to me, and all I could think was, “I’m dying, I’m dying. Oh my God.” I really thought I would faint. I got up somehow, and I went into the other room because I didn’t want my mom to worry. I didn’t want her to hear me; she’s the world’s biggest worrier.

In the other room, I spoke to the nurse. I told her: “I need to have a CAT scan of my lungs bilaterally, and then I need to be on my heparin drip.” She said, “I think all this medicine is making you talk crazy.” I said, “No, I’m telling you what I need: I need the scan immediately. And I need it to be done with dye.” I guess I said the name of the dye wrong, and she told me I just needed to rest. But I persisted: “I’m telling you, this is what I need.” Finally, the nurse called my doctor, and she listened to me and insisted we check. I fought hard, and I ended up getting the CAT scan. I’m so grateful to her. Lo and behold, I had a blood clot in my lungs, and they needed to insert a filter into my veins to break up the clot before it reached my heart.

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Leylah Fernandez explains US Open row over Emma Raducanu timeout

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Leylah Fernandez
Leylah Fernandez explains US Open row over Emma Raducanu timeout

Leylah Fernandez says she was unaware of the rules surrounding Emma Raducanu’s dramatic medical timeout in the US Open final after arguing with an official on court.

The Canadian was beaten in straight sets 6-4 6-3 by 18-year-old sensation Raducanu on Saturday, with the Brit becoming the first qualifier ever to win a Grand Slam – and she did so without dropping a set in 10 matches across her three weeks in Flushing Meadows.

Leylah Fernandez

There was a moment of controversy though as she served for the match, scraping her knee on the court as she slid for a return with the umpire calling for a medical timeout on break point.

Leylah Fernandez speaks out on row over Emma Raducanu medical timeout during US Open final
Raducanu had blood trickling down her leg (Picture: Getty)
Fernandez, whose growing momentum and crowd support was suddenly quietened, was livid with the decision as timeouts usually only happen on changeovers and argued with both the umpire and the tournament referee.

But the rules state that if a player is bleeding then play must stop immediately so they can be treated, with Raducanu getting patched back up before saving break point and then going on to win the match.

Leylah Fernandez

Fernandez was still visibly annoyed afterwards, shaking her head at the timeout which allowed her opponent to recompose herself, though now concedes it was a reaction ‘in the heat of the moment’.

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Asked about the situation, the 19-year-old explained at her post-match press conference: ‘I honestly did not know what was happening with Emma.

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Leylah Fernandez

‘I didn’t know how serious her fall was, so that’s why I went to see the official and ask her about it.

‘You know what, it just happened in the heat of the moment. It was just too bad that it happened in that specific moment with me, with the momentum. But it’s sports, it’s tennis. Just got to move on.’

Leylah Fernandez speaks out on row over Emma Raducanu medical timeout during US Open final
The Canadian teen was clearly affected by the stop in play (Picture: Getty)
Fernandez was gracious in defeat and full of praise for Raducanu, feeling that the ever-so-slightly younger Brit capitalised on her mistakes in what was a high-quality final at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

She continued: ‘Emma is a very good player. She’s been playing incredibly these last few months with a lot of confidence.

leylah fernandez

‘I unfortunately today did one too many mistakes. I think Emma noticed it and she just took advantage of it. She did good. Hopefully we’ll have many more tournaments together and many more finals.’

 

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Golf: Phil Mickelson shows off dramatic body transformation

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Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson used to get shredded by the media and golf fans about his portly appearance — now he is shredded.

The five-time major winner affectionately known as Lefty used to be one of the larger players on tour, prompting one scribe to write this about Mickelson in 2009.

Phil Mickelson

“One of the reasons I love to watch athletes is that besides their talents, they are awesome physical specimens to behold. Even though Phil Mickelson seems to be a nice guy and a pretty good golfer who can eke out a win when Tiger’s home with the family rehabbing his knee. He has got man boobs,” the scribe wrote.

“Mickelson is not even really fat. He just suffers from male pattern boobness. Guybags. Senor snubes. Mister Titster. He-man Hooters. Boyzoombas. Cock ‘n Knockers. Mancans. Chesticles with Testicles. Papa Tatas. Mickelson Mogambos.

Phil Mickelson
“Now as snarky as this sounds, I am not even saying his daddy dumplings turn me off. I am just saying that when Mickelson strides down the fairway, he looks like a breasty shift manager at the local Best Buy who cannot say ‘no’ to doughnuts in the break room, not a kick ass world class athlete.”

Mickelson was even forced to address it himself a decade ago when his commitment to winning was questioned. “I have put on some weight,” Mickelson told Golf magazine in 2010. “I tend to fluctuate with my wife, Amy. When she’s pregnant, I seem to put on weight. When she’s not, I seem to lose it with her. The weight fluctuations are an emotional thing, I guess …

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Phil Mickelson

“I wish I had visceral fat instead of subcutaneous fat. When I gain weight I gain it underneath the skin rather than beneath the muscle.”

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Chelsea Manning reacts to Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover amid Grimes romance

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Elon Musk
Chelsea Manning reacts to Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover amid Grimes romance

Chelsea Manning doesn’t care if she’s on Elon Musk’s Twitter “ban list.”

When a follower tweeted at the famed whistleblower Monday that she should be “careful” because she is “first on his ban list,” Manning responded, “who cares?”

 Elon Musk

The Tesla founder purchased the social medium for $44 billion earlier Monday and tweeted that he hoped even his “worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means,” so perhaps Manning stands a chance.

If not, she told the aforementioned follower that she will “just play minecraf [sic].”

Manning’s blasé attitude toward the history-making deal comes after Page Six broke the news that she is dating Musk’s ex Grimes.

“They’re getting serious. They U-Hauled it,” an insider told us in March of the fast-paced nature of the relationship. “They’ve been living together in Austin.”

While neither has publicly addressed their romance, Manning, 34, has been engaging sarcastically with the new Twitter owner, 50, since he announced his interest in buying the tech company.

Elon Musk

Enlarge ImageElon Musk waves
Twitter accepted the Tesla founder’s $44 billion bid Monday.
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“If our twitter bid succeeds, we will defeat the spam bots or die trying!” Musk tweeted last week, to which Manning responded with a meme about “occupying a billionaire’s mind rent free.”

Red State deputy managing editor Brandon Morse called out Manning over the tweet, writing, “You’re dating HIS ex, using a platform HE’S about to buy and commenting on HIS tweet after he hasn’t mentioned YOU one time. You’re living in his head? Seems you’re living in his world.”

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A former US soldier, Manning made headlines in the early 2010s for leaking hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks. She was sentenced to 35 years in prison after being found guilty of 20 crimes, including six violations of the Espionage Act.

Elon Musk
In January 2017, President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s remaining prison sentence after she had served seven years and attempted suicide multiple times.

Grimes, meanwhile, announced in March that she and Musk had broken up again. The singer, 34, and the billionaire have two children together.

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Maria Sharapova hangs with former rival Serena Williams at Met Gala

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Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova hangs with former rival Serena Williams at Met Gala

Tennis icons Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova — known for their famous on-court rivalry through the years — posed together for photos at the Met Gala in New York City on Monday night.

The pair was joined by Williams’ sister, fellow tennis star Venus Williams, who called the meeting a “reunion” in a post on her Instagram Story. That’s 35 grand slams in one photo, an excited fan noted on Twitter.

Maria Sharapova

Sharapova also shared the snap to her Instagram Story, along with a separate photo with Lakers star Russell Westbrook.

Williams and Sharapova’s thrilling back-and-forth began in 2004 at Wimbledon, when Sharapova defeated Williams to become the third-youngest female to win the title. But that would be the last time she would win against Williams — who dominated the remainder of their career meetings before Sharapova retired in early 2020.

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova at the 2019 US Open.
Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova at the 2019 US Open.
AFP via Getty Images
The on-court rivalry spilled into the duo’s personal lives, when they appeared to go tit-for-tat in separate interviews in 2013, over one of Williams’ rumored exes, pro tennis player Grigor Dimitrov.

Then Sharapova discussed Williams at length in her In 2017 autobiography, “Unstoppable: My Life So Far,” and wrote that the pair were “not friends.”

Elsewhere in the book, Sharapova explained, “I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds” at Wimbledon in 2004.

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Sharapova said she witnessed Williams “bawling” and having “guttural sobs” in the locker room after the loss.

“I think she hated me for seeing her at her lowest moment. But mostly I think she hated me for hearing her cry. She’s never forgiven me for it.” Sharapova wrote.

Sharapova and Williams must’ve buried the hatchet in the latter years of the Russian’s career, and it showed as they were rubbing elbows at one of fashion’s biggest nights.

Serena turned heads at the Met Gala in a pink and silver feathered look by Gucci. Sharapova rocked a gold gown with pleated sleeves by Gabriela Hearst. Meanwhile, Venus stunned in a strapless red dress by Prabal Gurung.

Serena, a 23-time grand slam winner, attended the Met Gala with her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. Sharapova showed up with fiance Alexander Gilkes.

The tennis stars stepped out after both Serena and Venus pulled out of the US Open, citing injury. Other tennis pros in attendance included newly crowned US Open champion Emma Raducanu, Sloane Stephens and Naomi Osaka, who served as co-chair of this year’s Met in a look by Louis Vuitton.

 

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Tiger Woods’ Ex-wife Elin Nordegren Secured $100M after Split & They Now Co-parent Their Kids Amicably

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Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods’ Ex-wife Elin Nordegren Secured $100M after Split & They Now Co-parent Their Kids Amicably

After Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren divorced in 2010, she walked home with $100 million. The couple, who share two children, have moved on from their difficult past and now amicably co-parent their kids.

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Tiger Woods will go down in history as one of the most iconic golfers the world has ever seen, thanks to his talent, multiple championships, and records.

Tiger Woods

For instance, he has won 82 PGA Tours, which ties him first all-time in golf history. He also ranks second in men’s major championships and holds several golf records.

Golfer Tiger Woods during a golf event. [Left] | Tiger Woods’ Ex wife Elin Nordegren with their kid at an outdoor event. [Right] | Photo: Getty Images
Golfer Tiger Woods during a golf event. [Left] | Tiger Woods’ Ex wife Elin Nordegren with their kid at an outdoor event. [Right] | Photo: Getty Images

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Thanks to his golfing prowess, he is regarded as one of the greatest golfers of all time. He is also one of the greatest sportsmen in history and is an inductee of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

While Woods’ talent and iconic status in the golf world are unquestionable, it is in his personal life that he has struggled.

Tiger Woods

In 2009, the golfer was enmeshed in multiple cheating scandals that almost ended his career and led to the end of his marriage with Elin Nordegren. Relive the scandals and find out what happened in the aftermath.

Tiger Woods when he won the Tour Championship on September, 23, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. | Photo: Getty Images
Tiger Woods when he won the Tour Championship on September, 23, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. | Photo: Getty Images

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WOODS AND NORDEGREN’S RELATIONSHIP

Nordegren is a model from Sweden. Before venturing into modeling, she and her twin sister Josefin worked odd jobs in supermarkets to fund their education. At 20, she began her modeling career and appeared on the cover of Cafe Sport magazine in the summer of 2000.

Nordegren met Swedish golfer Jesper Parnevik’s wife Mia Parnevik while working in a clothes shop in Stockholm. Jesper and Mia then hired her to be their kids’ nanny.

Due to the job, Nordegren moved with them to the United States. In 2001, she met Woods at the 2001 Open Championship. Before their meeting, Woods had spent a year begging Mia to introduce him to Nordegren. However, she was seeing someone at the time.

Tiger Woods

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Tiger Woods, his daugher Sam, and his wife Elin Nordegren at Stanford Stadium on November 21, 2009. | Photo: Getty Images
Tiger Woods, his daugher Sam, and his wife Elin Nordegren at Stanford Stadium on November 21, 2009. | Photo: Getty Images

In November 2003, Woods and Nordegren attended the President’s Cup tournament in South Africa. Afterward, he proposed to her at the Shamwari Game Reserve.

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On October 5, 2004, the couple tied the knot at the Sandy Lane Resort in Barbados. After their marriage, they lived at Isleworth, Windermere, Orlando, Florida. The couple welcomed their daughter, Sam Alexis, in 2007. In 2009, their son Charlie Axel was born.

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WOODS’ CHEATING SCANDAL

Woods was at the peak of his career in 2009. On October 1, 2009, Forbes named him the first athlete to earn $1 billion. His status as one of the sport’s greatest athletes was strong.Tiger Woods

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His family life also seemed to be perfect. He had a beautiful wife and two adorable kids. The golfer also had multiple endorsement deals, and all seemed to be going well.

However, on November 25, 2009, the National Enquirer published a story claiming Woods had an extramarital affair with Rachel Uchitel, a New York City nightclub manager.

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