NEW YORK (Reuters) - Serena Williams must put her career first after the birth of her first child if she wants to regain her place at the top of women’s tennis, according to her coach Patrick Mouratoglou.
Former world number one Williams is due to become a mother in the coming days but has hinted she would like to defend her Australian Open title in Melbourne starting on Jan. 15.
Mouratoglou, who has coached Williams since 2012, is hoping she will be ready in time.
“I know she will of course love her baby, be an incredible mother, be very protective, I’m sure of that, but I’m sure on the other hand that she will not let anyone or anything be between her and her career,” he told Reuters at Flushing Meadows.
No one knows how Williams will feel after she becomes a mother and Mouratoglou said everything will depend on how the 23-times grand slam winner adjusts to her new life. “She’s always put her career first. She will take unbelievable care of the baby but her career is going to stay first. And if she doesn’t put her career first, I think she will stop,” he added.
“If she puts her tennis second, she might be not as good as she could be and this she will not accept. She’s the biggest professional I’ve ever met.”
The Frenchman, who has won 10 grand slam titles with Williams, believes he can make the American as good as she was before even though she turns 36 next month.
“I cannot have the same success as I had with Serena with everyone,” he said. “I know my ability, I did it 100 times, if I have to do it 101 times I will.
“I have to find a way, there is always a way to find. That’s what’s exciting about our job, to find a way to bring them to their maximum.”
Editing by Ed Osmond