Serena Williams tells Meghan Markle she delayed motherhood for as long as she could due to tennis career

The athlete appears on the Duchess of Sussex’s new podcast

Saman Javed
Wednesday 24 August 2022 09:00 BST
Serena Williams defends Meghan Markle following Wimbledon visit criticism saying she couldnt be a better friend

Serena Williams has revealed that she delayed expanding her family for as long as she could, in order to continue pursuing her tennis career.

The tennis superstar made the confession during the first episode of the Duchess of Sussex’s podcast series Archetypes, which landed on Spotify on Tuesday (23 August).

Speaking to Meghan Markle, who is a longtime friend, Williams said that as a woman she wasn’t afforded the luxury of time her male peers had when it came to starting a family.

“I really want to expand my family, and you know I’ve been putting it off for so long, and as a woman there’s only so long you can put that off and other people out there, other men out there, can continue to play,” Williams said.

She also doubled down on her comments from earlier this month and said she will never “retire” from the sport.

“I will never retire from something I absolutely love,” Williams said.

“I will always have some sort of involvement in it. Maybe not professionally, but I will always want to be involved in some form in tennis. Obviously, I’ve retired professionally but it’s also an evolution.”

Williams first announced she was stepping away from professional tennis in a personal essay for American Vogue earlier this month, in which she wrote that she was “evolving” away from the sport.

Sympathising with Williams, Markle noted William’s choice of using the word “evolution rather than retirement”.

“A huge part of you has stopped in the way that you’ve known it, but it doesn’t mean that it stops being a part of you,” Markle reassured Williams.

The podcast launched on Tuesday

“You evolve into something else and continue the evolution which you and I both love so much, which is being a mom.”

Williams agreed, telling listeners: “My best is being a mom; I think I can really do really good at that.”

Elsewhere in the debut episode, the Duchess of Sussex also revealed that her three-year-old son Archie’s bedroom caught fire while she and her husband, the Duke of Sussex, were on a royal tour in South Africa in 2019.

Archie, who was born in May that year, was only four months old at the time.

While discussing the expectation of hiding personal struggles and always keeping a calm appearance that comes with being a public figure, Meghan opened up about the terrifying incident.

After landing in South Africa, the couple left Archie with staff before heading to an event.

“We finish the engagement, we get in the car and they say: there’s been a fire at the residence,” she said.

She explained: “We’d just landed an hour, two hours before. We raced back, and our amazing nanny Lauren, who we’d had all the way from Canada to here, was in floods of tears.”

Markle said Lauren was preparing to put Archie down for a nap when she decided to take him with her to quickly fetch a snack.

“In that amount of time that she went downstairs, the heater in the nursery caught on fire,” Meghan continued.

“There was no smoke detector, someone happened to smell smoke down the hallway, went in, fire [was] extinguished. He was supposed to be sleeping in there.

“We came back, and of course, as a mother... everyone’s in tears, everyone’s shaken. And what did we have to do? Go out and give another official engagement.”

Follow live updates on Markle’s Spotify podcast here.

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