Home Health COACH TO SERENA WILLIAMS: “Stop breastfeeding to up your game”

COACH TO SERENA WILLIAMS: “Stop breastfeeding to up your game”

COACH TO SERENA WILLIAMS: "Stop breastfeeding to up your game"

Serena Williams is speaking out about the struggles of being a new mom and a professional player, Entertainment Tonight reports.

The 36-year-old tennis star covers TIME’s September issue and discusses the difficult decision to sacrifice motherhood milestones in order to conquer the court. One of those sacrifices came when her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, insisted she stop breastfeeding in order to up her game.

“I felt the decisions were taken through the angle of the family, where before, every decision was taken through the angle of tennis,” Mouratoglou tells the magazine. “This is a big difference. Even if you are Serena, if you want to be successful in tennis, tennis has to be priority No. 1.”

While Williams was still dedicated to her game, she lamented giving up the connection to her 11-month-old daughter, Olympia, whom she shares with husband Alexis Ohanian.

“You have the power to sustain the life that God gave her,” she says. “You have the power to make her happy, to calm her. At any other time in your life, you don’t have this magical superpower.”

On top of that, the career advice was especially hard to take from a man, who, Williams thinks, could never “understand the connection.”

“It’s absolutely hard to take from a guy,” Williams notes. “He’s not a woman, he doesn’t understand that connection, that the best time of the day for me was when I tried to feed her. I’ve spent my whole life making everyone happy, just servicing it seems like everyone. And this is something I wanted to do.”

In the end, Williams made the difficult decision to heed her coach’s advice and put her career first.

“I looked at Olympia, and I was like, ‘Listen, Mummy needs to get her body back, so Mummy’s going to stop now,’” she reveals. “We had a really good conversation. We talked it out.”