Twenty three-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams has opened up about the time before her daughter’s birth and how she feared she might not return to the tennis court post her delivery.
In April 2017 after winning the Australia Open title, Williams had revealed she was 20 weeks pregnant and would miss the remainder of the season, and on September 1 she gave birth to Olympia. She had a cesarean-section delivery due to a pulmonary embolism during labour. She suffered another pulmonary embolism after giving birth, leaving her bedridden for six weeks and delaying her return to training.
“I can’t believe how much went wrong on my way to meeting her. I almost died. But now she is the reason why it means even more than it did before. Still, there is no escaping the fear,” Williams said in the documentary ‘Being Serena’ streaming on Discovery Plus.
“The fear that I might not come back as strong as I was, the fear that I can’t be both, the best mother and the best tennis player in the world,” said the 39-year-old player.
In the documentary, the American tennis great further spoke about her journey and giving a perfect childhood to Olympia.
“We put together the baby’s room before she was born. It was just one way I could try to make everything perfect. I wanted her to see the Australian Open trophy. She should know that having her in my body didn’t stop me from succeeding, from winning,” said Williams.
“I think it is important to have reminders of where you come from because where you come from is who you are and I didn’t come from this. I come from Compton; I come from a family that had to work for everything it got and took nothing for granted. I had to worry about all kinds of things growing up, gangs, robberies, murder, gunshots right outside our door,” she said. There was a lot to be afraid of. There was a lot to run away from. Ultimately that fear, it drove us forward. We have never stopped trying to win and we have never stopped trying to grow.”
‘Being Serena’, a five-episode documentary series produced by HBO Sports and IMG’s Original Content, showcases game-changing moments in her professional and personal life, tracking her pregnancy, motherhood, comeback, and more.
“Being Serena is very close to my heart — it captured my life during some of the most unforgettable and challenging moments in a really honest way. For me, Being Serena is a tribute to all of the women who have gotten back to work — or in my case back on the court — after becoming a mother. I am excited that my fans in India will have a chance to see my story,” she said.
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India Legends favourites as Road Safety World Series returns
Raipur (Chhattisgarh) [India], March 4 (ANI): India, which had a great start to the Road Safety World Series with two back-to-back wins, are going to start strong favorites against Bangladesh in Raipur, which is yet to host a white-ball international fixture.
Cricket fans are going to have some seriously busy days ahead. With Team India already locked in some fun contests with England in daylight Tests, the evenings are going to be nostalgic as well as entertaining as India is set to host the Legends in the Road Safety World Series from Friday for the next 11 days.
Chhattisgarh’s capital city Raipur will roll out the lush green carpet of Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium for Sachin Tendulkar’s Indian Legends and Bangladesh Legends led by Mohammed Rafique, the first match of the series which will see teams like Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies, and England participate.
And the series which got a massive response from cricket fans last year before being disrupted by coronavirus pandemic after four games, promises to be one exciting affair this year once again.
While Bangladesh may have their legends and past superstars like Rafique, Khaled Mahmud, Mohammed Sharif, Mushfiqur Rahman, A N M Mamun Ur Rashed, Nafees Iqbal, Abdur Razzak, Khaled Mashud in their line-up, Tendulkar’s team is going to have the upper-hand purely on their T20 and IPL experience.
Tendulkar himself has led multiple times IPL champions Mumbai Indians’ in the initial years. Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, and the latest addition to the squad Yusuf Pathan will give the firepower to an already strong top order.
Recently retired India cricketer and wicket-keeper Naman Ojha’s inclusion will not only help the Men In Blue behind the wickets but also give their solid batting more depth.
The bowling department of Tendulkar’s side is as strong as their batting. White ball in hand backed by Munaf Patel, Irfan Pathan, Manpreet Singh Gony, and Noel David.
Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, who retired from professional cricket not long ago, will be the star in the middle overs.
The wicket that has hosted IPL and Champions League T20 matches will play true to its nature which is a little slower. It will also be a challenging task to clear the big boundaries in Raipur.
Going by the stats, no team has managed to go 170 runs in the stadium, thus expect the games to be nail-biting affairs. (ANI)
PSL postponement: Akhtar blasts PCB, wants PM to look into issue
New Delhi [India], March 4 (ANI): Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar on Thursday fumed over the “incompetency” of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) after the postponement of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and asked Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to look into the matter.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Thursday announced that the Pakistan Super League’s (PSL) season 6 will be postponed with immediate effect following a string of positive Covid-19 cases.
Akhtar lashed out at the PCB’s medical panel and PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani.
“It is time for blame-game. But you have to admit that this the responsibility of the medical panel and the bio-secure bubble should have been properly maintained. There should be strict inquiry against the medical panel… The medical panel should not be spared,” Akhtar said in a video he posted on his YouTube channel.
“… The medical panel should be punished and I request the higher authorities because they played with the lives of the people… All the blame has been put on Wasim Khan and he has been asked to face everything. Who has brought Wasim Khan? Ehsan Mani (brought him). Where is Mani Sahab? Is this the responsibility of Wasim Khan to answer here? Ehsan Mani should give the answer,” he added.
PCB said that the decision was made after seven cases were reported in the competition, which had started on February 20. Akhtar said that PCB CEO Wasim Khan is the only person in the board who wants to help Pakistan cricket.
“No one should have a doubt about PCB’s incompetence. Only Wasim Khan is logical and he is the only one who wants to help Pakistan cricket… Now is it the responsibility of Wasim Khan to look after the medical panel. Earlier also I asked Wasim Khan to change the medical panel so that such a situation does not happen,” he said.
Also, Peshawar Zalmi captain Wahab Riaz and coach Daren Sammy had breached the COVID-19 protocols last month. However, the PCB had allowed the duo to join the side after testing negative for the coronavirus.
Requesting higher authorities to look into the matter, Akhtar said PCB played with the lives of the people.
“Aren’t you (PCB) that smart to book an entire hotel. People are getting married there, getting haircuts. Daren Sammy getting out. I fail to understand, why would you (Javed Afridi) breach the bio-secure bubble. I am asking the same question to Wahab Riaz,” Akhtar said.
“… You (PCB) played with the lives of the people and at the same time you played with the reputation of the country… Where is the Chairman of PCB, he has to be answerable. I request the higher authorities and to the honourable courts to take a very good look at this matter… Where is Mani? Come to the front and answer. You have damaged Pakistan’s reputation by ruining PSL. I am asking the higher authorities and the Prime Minister, sir look into this matter. This is an insult to Pakistan and Pakistan cricket,” he added.
Citing an incident when he used to play, Akhtar said: “PSL brand got destroyed again just because of the incompetence. And the one’s who do not even know how to write a prescription or see X-rays are PCB’s doctors. I have witnessed this when I used to play, they (PCB doctors) did not know how to see X-rays. Nothing has changed so far.” (ANI)
Qatar Open: Sania Mirza, Andreja Klepac lose in semi-finals
Doha [Qatar], March 4 (ANI): Indian tennis star Sania Mirza and her partner Andreja Klepac of Slovenia crashed out of the ongoing Qatar Total Open after facing a defeat in the semi-finals on Thursday.
Sania, who was competing in her first tournament in more than 12 months, marked her return to tennis with a credible semi-final finish in the showpiece event.
Sania and her women’s doubles partner Klepac went down 5-7, 6-2, 5-10 to second-seeded Nicole Melichar and Dutch player Demi Schuurs in a thrilling 3 set contest.
Earlier on Monday, Sania made a winning return to the WTA circuit as she along with Klepac defeated Ukranian’s pair of Nadiia Kichenok and Lyudmyla Kichenok 6-4 6-7(5) 10-5 in the opening round of the showpiece event.
This match was Sania’s first in 12 months’ time and co-incidentally, this Qatar Open was the last tournament she played in 2020 when all competitions were put to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier, Mirza had revealed that she contracted coronavirus at the beginning of this year.
She also revealed that staying away from her two-year-old child was the toughest thing she faced after testing positive for the virus. She also said that the virus is no joke and everyone should take every precaution possible.
Last year, Mirza brought home the country’s first-ever Fed Cup Heart Award in Asia/Oceania category after getting more than 10,000 votes out of the total 16,985 votes cast for 2020’s three regional Group I nominees.
Last year, her return to Fed Cup action for the first time since 2016 saw India book their place in the Fed Cup Play-offs.
Reflecting on the achievement, she had said she wants to dedicate the award to the entire country and pledged to donate the prize money to Telangana Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to aid the fight against coronavirus. (ANI)
ISL 7: Familiar foes Goa and Mumbai City collide in playoff curtain-raiser
Margao (Goa) [India], March 4 (ANI): For a side that has been the most consistent team in the history of the Indian Super League (ISL) — they have secured playoff qualification a record six times — FC Goa have never managed to lift the ISL title. Besides that, they have lost the finals on two occasions.
For the Gaurs, who have come this close, the dream is now lifting their first-ever trophy. They’ll be a step closer to that dream if they can put it past League Shield winners Mumbai City FC in the first leg of their semifinals at the Fatorda Stadium on Friday.
Having qualified for the playoffs for the fourth-straight time, Goa will be confident of achieving their dream this time around. One of the most entertaining teams in the league, they are only behind Mumbai for goals scored, alongside NorthEast United.
They have form backing them too, having been unbeaten in 13 games now — a feat no other side has managed in ISL history. Facing Mumbai will not be an easy task but coach Juan Ferrando hopes his players stick to his philosophy as they aim to go all the way.
“If we enjoy the game, we will have success. Sometimes there is pressure because everybody wants to win but for me, it’s important our players to want to play (our way),” said Ferrando in an ISL release.
“I am scared when my team is not playing football (our way) because it’s difficult to help the team. But all our players want to participate and stick to our style,” he added.
However, they will have their task cut out with Ivan Gonzalez and Alberto Noguera missing out due to suspensions. While Goa top the charts for most possession (58 per cent), Mumbai (57 per cent) are not too far behind. Dominating possession has worked for Lobera’s side, who have netted a whopping 35 goals.
During the last meeting between the two sides, Ferrando had stated the pressure was on Mumbai to win the League Winners Shield. And having achieved that target, Lobera will aim to prove a lot more to his former employers.
“I love when others speak about Mumbai City as a favourite team since they are thinking we are better than them,” he said. “It’s good for us. I love this pressure but we need to prove ourselves on the pitch.”
Similar to Ferrando, Lobera too, wants his players to enjoy themselves rather than take on pressure.
“It’s a special game,” he added. “We need to be smart and ready to play 180 minutes and tomorrow is the first step. We are excited and I hope we enjoy (the challenge).
Mumbai will be without Amey Ranawade (suspended) while Hugo Boumous returns after a four-match ban. (ANI)
Sharath Kamal loses in pre-quarters at WTT Contender Doha
Doha [Qatar], March 4 (ANI): Indian paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal suffered a 6-11, 4-11, 8-11 defeat against World No. 7 Lin Yun-Ju of Chinese Taipei in the men’s singles pre-quarters of the World Table Tennis (WTT) Contender Doha on Thursday.
The World No. 32 Sharath, who was playing his first international tournament after a year’s break due to the coronavirus pandemic, couldn’t gain momentum despite showing good resistance in the latter part of the match against the higher-ranked Yun-Ju. With Sharath’s loss, the Indian challenge came to an end in the tournament.
Earlier, the other Indian Gnanasekaran Sathiyan, who also secured a direct entry into the main draw alongside 2006 Commonwealth Games champion Sharath, suffered 11-7, 11-4, 11-8 loss at the hands of World No. 20 Aruna Quadri in the Round-of-32.
Manika Batra and Sreeja Akula also lost their respective final qualifying round matches in the women’s singles category.
While Batra lost to World No. 69 Ganna Gaponova 5-11, 6-11, 14-12, 5-11, Akula, who had outclassed World No. 74 Vega Paulina of Chile in the earlier round, made her Russian opponent Mariia Tailkova work hard and almost got the momentum shifted in her favour with a come-from-behind 2-1 lead before losing the tie 9-11, 11-5, 11-6, 6-11, 5-11.
In the tournament, Harmeet Desai had also suffered an 11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 8-11, 2-11 defeat against Russia’s Alexander Shibaev in the third-round match of the men’s singles qualifiers. Despite dominating the first two games, Desai couldn’t hold his nerves and conceded an unexpected loss. (ANI)
Ind vs Eng, 4th Test: Hosts ‘completely’ out skilled visitors, admits Vaughan
Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 4 (ANI): While Michael Vaughan had criticised the pitch in the pink-ball game, the former England skipper admitted that India outplayed the visitors on the opening day of the fourth and final Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday.
Spinners Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin spun a web over visitors as England was bundled out for 205 in the first innings. Vaughan praised the hosts and slammed a very “average” batting by England in the first innings on day one of the final Test.
“India today with the ball showed why they are so good in these conditions … Pitch did very little for 60 overs and they completely out-skilled & out-thought England … !! High class … England with the Bat were very very average,” Vaughan tweeted.
In reply to England’s 205, Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara showed great application as India ended the opening day of the fourth and final Test in the driver’s seat despite losing opener Shubman Gill in the third session.
After a disappointing show with the bat, England got off to a flying start with the ball as James Anderson struck with the third ball of the innings. The pace spearhead trapped Gill (0) in front of the stumps as India lost a wicket with no run on the board.
But Rohit and Pujara ensured that was the end of the visitors’ joy on the day as they played out the remaining 11.3 overs without losing any wicket. (ANI)
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