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Serena Williams’ tough start to motherhood

Serena WilliamsSerena Williams cried every time her daughter did in the early stages of motherhood.

The tennis star – who has 10-month-old Alexis Olympia with her husband Alexis Ohanian – admits she found it really “tough” in the beginning and shed a few tears because she didn’t know how to help her little girl.

She told People magazine: “It’s tough in the beginning. The baby’s crying all the time and you don’t know why – you don’t know if it’s gas, you don’t know if she’s sick, you don’t know if it’s just colic. So I just started crying with her because I couldn’t help her and I wanted to help her and I couldn’t, so I just started crying.”

Serena’s admission comes after she revealed she prayed and “cried a little bit” when she stopped breastfeeding Alexis.

Serena Williams She admitted: “I literally sat Olympia in my arms, I talked to her, we prayed about it. I told her, ‘Look, I’m going to stop. Mommy has to do this.’ I cried a little bit not as much as I thought I would …

“After [I stopped breastfeeding], like literally I lost 10 pounds in a week. It was crazy. I just kept dropping. I was like, that’s when I learned that everything was different. Sorry to go on about that. I wanted to say that so women out there know that’s not true. Everyone takes things different. I think it’s important for us to share that message.”

Though she loves being a mother, Serena was shocked when she realised how much she’d missed the pressure of competing out on the court.

She said: “It definitely surprises me. I have this amazing child, all these grand slams… it was all super bonus. I definitely feel a lot less pressure out there but I’m a little bit shocked at how much I almost want that pressure.”

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An Unseeded Serena Williams Looms in the French Open Draw

Serena Williams has not played in a Grand Slam event since the 2017 Australian Open, when she was two months pregnant with her daughter, Olympia.Dita Alangkara/Associated Press

Her fate left to the whims of a randomization algorithm, Serena Williams landed in a comfortable part of the French Open draw on Thursday, with a first-round match against 70th-ranked Kristyna Pliskova.

Williams, playing her first Grand Slam event since giving birth in September to her daughter, Olympia, is unseeded and could have been drawn against any of the other 127 women in the field. She has never played Pliskova.

In the second round, Williams would face either 17th-seeded Ashleigh Barty, who has never defeated a top-50 player on clay, or 81st-ranked Natalia Vikhlyantseva.

Among Williams’s possible third-round opponents are 11th-seeded Julia Goerges, 36th-ranked Dominika Cibulkova, 46th-ranked Alison Van Uytvanck, or the 248th-ranked wild card Isabelle Wallace. Williams’s fourth-round opponent could be sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova, the twin sister of her first-round opponent, or Maria Sharapova, whom she has beaten in 18 consecutive matches.

Williams is in the top half of the draw, which is led by No. 1 seed Simona Halep and third-seeded Garbiñe Muguruza. The bottom half features No. 2 seed Caroline Wozniacki, the defending champion Jelena Ostapenko, No. 8 Petra Kvitova and No. 9 Venus Williams, with whom Serena Williams has entered the doubles draw.

Serena Williams, ranked No. 453, has played only two tournaments this year. She reached the third round in Indian Wells, Calif., and lost in the first round in the Miami Open, both in March. She subsequently withdrew from tournaments in Madrid and Rome, which would have elevated her ranking had she played.

The defending French Open singles champions, Rafael Nadal, left, and Jelena Ostapenko, attended the draw for this year’s tournament on Thursday.Thomas Samson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The topic of whether Williams, who was No. 1 when she announced her pregnancy, should be seeded has been debated throughout tennis for weeks. During the draw ceremony Thursday, Ivanka Trump even weighed in, calling Williams’s unseeded status “ridiculous.”

“@SerenaWilliams is a formidable athlete (best ever!) and loving new mother,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “No person should ever be penalized professionally for having a child! The #WTA should change this rule immediately.”

The WTA and its players’ council are considering such a rule, but French Open organizers also had the chance to seed Williams. While all Grand Slam tournaments have the discretion to adjust their seedings, only Wimbledon ever does so, to account for players who excel or struggle on its grass surface. A communications official with the French Tennis Federation said that the French Open had never adjusted its seedings to divert from the rankings.

The last Grand Slam tournament at which Williams was unseeded was the 2007 Australian Open. Williams, then ranked 81st, won that tournament, thrashing the top-seeded Sharapova, 6-1, 6-2, in the final.

On the men’s side, top-seeded Rafael Nadal, a 10-time champion at Roland Garros, is an overwhelming favorite and got help from the draw anyway.

Nadal, who opens against 54th-ranked Alexandr Dolgopolov, is on the opposite half of the draw from many of the men considered most likely to challenge him. The highest seeds with Nadal on the top half — No. 3 Marin Cilic, No. 5 Juan Martín del Potro, No. 6 Kevin Anderson — are all at their least comfortable on clay.

The bottom half is anchored by second-seeded Alexander Zverev, who had his 13-match winning streak on clay ended by Nadal in the Rome final. In the French Open quarterfinals, Zverev could face seventh-seeded Dominic Thiem, who handed Nadal his only loss on clay in the past year, in Madrid this month.

The bottom half of the draw also features fourth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov, eighth-seeded David Goffin and 20th-seeded Novak Djokovic, the 12-time Grand Slam champion, who was the last man to defeat Nadal at Roland Garros, in the 2015 quarterfinals.

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Meghan Markle’s Givenchy wedding gown was beautiful. But the woman wearing it…

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First glimpse of Meghan Markle’s wedding dress

Actress Meghan Markle arrived at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for her wedding to Prince Harry on May 19. 

The dress isn’t everything, but it is a lot. And the Givenchy haute couture gown chosen by Meghan Markle for her marriage to Prince Harry told a story about contemporary romance, geopolitical history and the institution into which she has married. But mostly, most importantly, it offered a bit of insight into the bride herself.

The sleek white gown, with its six strategically placed seams, was stitched from a heavy silk with a subtle sheen. A simple bateau neckline gracefully framed her face. The body of the dress subtly outlined her waist and flowed into a full train. But what was most noticeable were all the things that the dress was not. It was not a Hollywood red-carpet statement. It was not a Disney-princess fantasy. It was not a mountain of camouflaging tulle and chiffon.

The dress, designed by Clare Waight Keller, was free of extravagant embellishments. It was not covered in yards of delicate lace. It did not have a single ruffle — no pearls or crystals. Its beauty was in its architectural lines and its confident restraint. It was a romantic dress, but one that suggested a clear-eyed understanding that a real-life romance is not the stuff of fairy tales. The dress was a backdrop; it was in service to the woman.

The woman. That’s what the dress emphasized. Not bridal whimsy. Not princess tropes. Not royal pomp. The former actress, the former blogger, the formerly single lady, now has the title Duchess of Sussex. But she is still Meghan.

Meghan Markle’s veil was embroidered with flowers representing the countries of the British Commonwealth, as well as her home state of California. (Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)

It was the veil, five meters of delicate silk tulle embroidered with flowers representing the 53 countries of the British Commonwealth, Kensington Palace and her home state of California, that carried the weight of history, duty and tradition. It floated out behind, helped along by two little page boys. She wore the veil with Queen Mary’s diamond and platinum bandeau tiara, which had been lent to her by her new grandmother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II. The tiara, created in 1932, is dominated by a central brooch that dates to 1893.

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Queen Mary’s tiara. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Prince Harry, looking handsome and delighted, wore the frock coat uniform of the Blues and Royals. He thankfully did not shave his beard.

Keller is a British designer who has previously worked for Pringle of Scotland and Chloe. She is the first woman to lead the French fashion house Givenchy, one of the most venerable names in the industry and closely associated with the sleek and sophisticated style of Audrey Hepburn. Keller is one of a small group of female designers who have led some of fashion’s most influential houses — women who have approached their job as one aimed at empowering their female customers rather than merely decorating them.

Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland wore a pale green day dress and coat designed by Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim of Oscar de la Renta. Her dreadlocks were swept back and tucked underneath a modest hat by British milliner Stephen Jones.

Meghan’s m

Mother-of-the-bride Doria Ragland wearing Oscar de la Renta and a hat by Stephen Jones. (Gareth Fuller/AFP/Getty Images)

Ragland, who is African American, wore dreadlocks — a hairstyle that is still a provocation in some quarters, one equated with blackness. This is notable, of course, because British society, like American society, is fraught with stereotypes about race. We are uncomfortable with differences and threatened by change. Ragland appeared elegant and proud, happy and emotional, which is precisely how one hopes a mom would look on her daughter’s wedding day. And in her hairstyle change was writ large, but done so beautifully and with quiet confidence.

This was a history-making day. A day when fascinators and church hats sat side-by-side in St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. Tennis ace Serena Williams crowned her cornrows with a pink-feathered fascinator and Oprah Winfrey paired her Stella McCartney blush-colored dress with a wide-brimmed hat that would be at home at any Baptist church on Easter Sunday. The Most Rev. Michael Curry, the first African American to preside over the Episcopal Church, quoted the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., referenced slavery and preached about “the power of love.” A black choir performed “Stand by Me.” And emotion resonated throughout the service — although not necessarily on the Queen’s face.

Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (Alastair Grant/AFP/Getty Images)

Oprah Winfrey, in a splendid church hat and a Stella McCartney dress. (James Gourley/REX/Shutterstock/SWNS.com)

Serena Williams and her fascinator. (Gareth Fuller/Pool photo via AP)

Markle, who is biracial, has been referred to as an American princess and a black princess, although she does not hold that title in her own right. The diversity she brings to the British royal family is historic and important. But there remains something disconcerting in 2018 about the obsessive enchantment with princesses and Prince Charming, tiaras, carriage rides and a life of happily-ever-after that is, in part, defined by giving up a career one enjoyed and ceasing to have public opinions. It can be a suffocating fantasy because it is one premised on relinquishing control and independence. It’s a fantasy that is less about the relationship between two loving individuals than it is a bargain between an institution and a symbol of femininity, the state and the silent bride.

Culled From Washington Post