How Serena Williams Battled Through Potentially Fatal Blood Clots in Her Lungs During Birth of Daughter Olympia

Published 02/13/2021, 1:00 PM EST
TORONTO, ON – AUGUST 11: Serena Williams of the United States becomes upset after withdrawing from the final match against Bianca Andreescu of Canada due to a back injury on Day 9 of the Rogers Cup at Aviva Centre on August 11, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)


The 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams has won a great many battles on the tennis court. But behind the curtains, she has overcome dangerous and even life-threatening challenges in her life.

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In particular, her battle with pulmonary embolism and blood clots forming inside her lungs is more than inspiring. Meanwhile, the American tennis queen continued to dominate the sport she was born to play.

It was 2011 when Serena first confirmed that she had an episode with a hematoma and a pulmonary embolism. Both are blood-related conditions, wherein blood accumulates outside blood vessels, most likely due to trauma.

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And in the second, a more severe problem, blood clots from deep veins block a pulmonary artery of the lungs.

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Despite the challenges, the 4-time Olympic Gold medallist did not cease to prosper on a tennis court. However, her biggest victory came to her in 2017, when she gave birth to Olympia and became a mother. But, it also turned out to be the toughest battle of her life.

Due to a complication, Serena had to undergo an emergency C-section. Following that, she delivered a healthy girl child, but her condition spiraled down during the recovery.

She instantly knew that something was off, even though the doctors thought her reaction was lucid. In the end, a CT scan confirmed that several blood clots had made a home in her lungs.

Serena Williams of the USA celebrates with daughter Alexis Olympia after winning the final match against Jessica Pegula of USA at ASB Tennis Centre in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

It was because she was off the daily-dose of anticoagulants, a medicine that kept her pulmonary embolism in check. Even if she had wanted to take them, she couldn’t have because of her surgery.

After a successful operation and blood thinners, Serena was out of danger but was shackled to her bed for a week. Since then, the mother and the daughter have been inseparable.

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Serena and Olympia are one of a kind

Tennis – A Day at the Drive Exhibition – Memorial Drive Tennis Club, Adelaide, Australia – January 29, 2021, Serena Williams of the U.S. with her daughter and husband at A Day at The Drive REUTERS/Morgan Sette

The proverb ‘made for each other’ rightfully applies to this American mother-daughter duo. From training on a tennis court, singing karaoke, baking cookies, and a lot more, they make everything look magical.

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With 73 WTA titles including 8 Wimbledon Championships, Serena continues to carry her relentless force in the women’s tour. Hopefully, the tennis world will never lose the sheer athleticism and fearlessness of the American tennis queen.

Without a shadow of a doubt or hesitation, Serena Williams is the greatest warrior of all time.

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Purav Joshi

684 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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