Wimbledon 2018: Serena Williams & Victoria Azarenka among mums on Centre Court

  • Posted: Jul 04, 2018
Wimbledon 2018 on the BBC
Venue: All England Club, Wimbledon Dates: 2-15 July
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Former world number one Victoria Azarenka admits to the odd spell of ‘baby brain’ but one thing she is clear about is the need for more childcare at tennis tournaments.

All four matches on Centre Court at Wimbledon on Wednesday featured parents – and three of them were mums: Serena Williams, Azarenka and Tatjana Maria.

Wimbledon provides a creche for the increasing numbers of tennis players with children and Azarenka wants other tournaments to follow suit.

“It really just happened just two years ago that it became a necessity,” the Belarusian told BBC Sport, referring to the fact the since her and Williams’ high-profile pregnancies the topic has become much talked about.

“Right now it is going to have to be a definite addition to the tournaments.”

Azarenka, 28, lost her singles match to Karolina Pliskova 6-3 6-3 but is competing in the mixed doubles alongside Britain’s Jamie Murray.

  • Williams through to third round
  • Federer eases into next round

‘Baby brain’ & training – what is it like being a mum on tour?

Azarenka, who had her son Leo in December 2016, says she fits her training in around his naps and thinks that as he gets older he will be able to come to more practice sessions with her.

She says she does not try to win “for him” and is good at just concentrating on her job on the tennis court because she knows he is in good hands with grandma.

“I want to be a good role model for my son, I think if I start focusing on winning or losing for someone it is a little bit distracting,” said Azarenka, who won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013.

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“All I want to do is teach him what hard work is, what discipline is, what dedication is and if you do all those things you may have opportunities to achieve your dreams.”

Her return to tennis has been hampered by a custody battle that she has previously said she “would not wish on anybody” but she has now put that behind her.

Lots of things change after having a baby – not least the ability to remember simple things, as in so-called ‘baby brain’.

And it turns out, this affects tennis players too.

“I have an excellent memory usually,” Azarenka said. “But I asked one of the players ‘did you play today?’ and he said ‘yes’. And then I literally saw him two hours later and said ‘did you play today?’ and he was really nice, he just said ‘yes’ and I was like ‘did I ask you that before?’.”

Roger Federer was the other parent playing on Centre Court on Wednesday, with the world number two beating Lukas Lacko 6-4 6-4 6-1.

When asked who had it easier, Azarenka replied: “The dads have it easier. My guess would be that guys are focused on their jobs a lot more.”

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