20 January 2020

Serena Williams speaks about being a mum and her concerns about competing in the Australian Open as the bushfires continue to rage

Serena Williams says her daughter is more interested in Play-Doh than what her mother is achieving on the tennis court.

Williams claimed her 350th major match win as she beat Anastasia Potapova in straight sets in the first round of the Australian Open where she is gunning for her 24th Grand Slam title.

The player won her first tournament as a mum at the Auckland Open this month.

Despite her achievements, Williams says Olympia is blissfully unaware.

“It was amazing to win in New Zealand. I hadn’t been able to win as a mum before. I had been close. So this was special for me and for her – I hope.

“Sadly, she didn’t know what it meant. She only cares about Play-Doh and that’s about it.

“I try to tell her I am somebody. But she doesn’t know. I’m known as ‘Olympia’s mum’ to all her friends. And I love that.”

Williams with her daughter Olympia (PA Images)

As well as claiming her first tournament win since 2017 in New Zealand, she also donated her prize money and her playing dresses to raise money for the bushfire crisis in Australia.

She also played her part in the rally for relief which raised just over $4 million.

Williams, who once had blood clots on her lungs, has said she is concerned about playing at the Open.

“I definitely was concerned, and am. It changes every day. There are a lot of factors on how it can change. That’s still a concern for pretty much everyone.

“Every day all the players and the tournament make sure that all the players are updated on what the play conditions would be like.

“It’s important for people like me, who have a big platform, to raise awareness. I’ve been coming to Melbourne since 98.

“It has a special place in my heart, I have friends throughout Australia who I consider as family.

“As a player, it’s incredibly devastating. I know people who have been affected. It’s been a disaster.

“I wanted to make that statement and will continue to support in any way I can.”

Williams will be back in action at the Open on Wednesday against Tamara Zidansek.

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