It looks like moms are finally getting their day on the court. That's right, three moms qualified for the U.S. Open quarterfinals for the first time ever in tennis history.
American tennis champ Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka from Belarus, and Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria have all made their way to the U.S. Open quarterfinals, a serious accomplishment on its own. But what makes it even more amazing is that all three tennis players are also moms, as the U.S. Open shared on Twitter. And this is the very first time three moms have made it into the quarterfinals.
When ESPN spoke to Azarenka, who hadn't won a match in more than a year before she defeated Karolina Muchova on Monday to secure her place in the quarterfinals, she told the news outlet that she thought it was "remarkable" to see three moms on the tennis courts at Flushing Meadows. "I’m so proud of the ladies. It’s incredible. I’m just really happy to see that," she told the news outlet. "I hope we all keep going as far as possible. It’s inspiring. I hope it’s inspiring for other women that they continue to go for their dreams and don’t only identify as mothers, but continue to do what they want to do."
Williams told the U.S. Open at a press conference that she was excited to see so many moms in the tournament this year as well. "I'm so happy that there are so many moms in the event, obviously, because I'm one," she said. "I just have a totally new respect for moms."
As Forbes reported, there have only ever been three mothers in the 50 year history of the U.S. Open Era to win a Grand Slam: Kim Clijsters of Belgium and Australians Evonne Goolagong and Margaret Court. Mom of three Clijsters was back for the 2020 tournament this year after being away for eight years.
Actually, coming back from a hiatus is sort of the theme this year for the three moms heading into the quarterfinals. Williams took time away from the game after welcoming her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian in September 2018, as did Azarenka after giving birth to her son Leo in 2016. Pironkova has not played in a tournament since Wimbledon in 2017, taking three years off after the birth of her son Alexander in 2018.
The message here? As Pironkova said at her tournament, according to Forbes, trying to balance motherhood and her tennis career is "tough" but worth it. "I haven’t seen [my son] in two weeks and it’s very tough, it gets tougher every day," she said, according to Forbes. "But I know he’s watching me. I know he’s proud of me, and it’s worth it.”