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'What I went through was awful' - Serena Williams opens up about difficult childbirth and postnatal depression

Serena Williams in action at the French Open 2018 Credit: PA

Tennis ace Serena William's has spoken frankly about her battle with postnatal depression following her triumphant return to the court.

Speaking to Harper's Bazaar, she opened up about the complications she faced during child birth, and the postnatal depression that ensued after the birth of her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.

Williams, who covers the July edition of the magazine, said: "I think people need to talk about it more because it’s almost like the fourth trimester, it’s part of the pregnancy.

"I remember one day, I couldn’t find Olympia’s bottle and I got so upset I started crying...because I wanted to be perfect for her."

She added: "I hope I am, and I’m going to strive to be the best mum I can be."

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Serena's return to professional tennis is made the more remarkable due to her difficult childbirth nine months earlier.

In September last year, her daughter Alexis had to be delivered by emergency C-section as she was in distress.

To make matters worse, Serena then developed blood clots in her lungs, causing her to cough, which ruptured her cesarean scar.

What then followed was a life-saving surgery and several weeks of bed rest.

"What I went through was awful," she recalled.

"Looking back, I don’t know how I got through it all. I mean I was praying, I know my mom was praying a lot."

Williams, who's married to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, hopes to instill her parents’ values of determination, obedience and religious belief, into Olympia’s upbringing.

But she also dreams of expanding her family, adding, "Olympia needs a little sister, and then we can have a boy. I’ve only been around girls my whole life."

Motherhood, however, hasn't slowed Serena down.

She's debuted her first eponymous fashion brand, Serena, which features T-shirts emblazoned with her signature S and empowering slogans: sophisticated, strong, smart, stylish, silly, sexy, super...

And she credits her daughter as one of her major source of inspirations.

Coupled with this is Serena's involvement in various philanthropic initiatives, such as the venture-capital company she has started, to invest in female-led businesses.

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Williams is currently training for Roland-Garros and Wimbledon, but has set her sights firmly on surpassing Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles, won between 1960 and 1973.

"I love making history," she said. "This gives me another opportunity."

But right now her priority is reclaiming her number one spot, after she dropped to 453 in the world rankings following her absence from tennis to give birth.

She easily sailed through the first round of the French Open, where she beat her opponent Kristyna Pliskova in straight sets whilst wearing a unique Nike catsuit highlighting her formidable form.