Serena Williams and Top Level Tennis

But the holder of 23 Grand Slam titles swiftly declared her clear intention to return to the tennis court as a mother.

Williams to defend Australian title three months after giving birth She would not be the first athlete nor even the first tennis player to return to elite competition as a mother.

Kim Clijsters won two US Opens and an Australian Open after the birth of her first daughter, making her the only WTA player to win more majors after motherhood than before.

More recently, former world number one Viktoria Azarenka returned to Wimbledon six months after giving birth to son Leo, joining a handful of mothers currently on the women’s tour.

Away from tennis, Paula Radcliffe reaffirmed her superhuman status by re-lacing her running shoes just 12 days after the birth of daughter Isla in 2007.

Williams herself has become a doting new mum, recently tweeting how difficult it was to post about anything other than her daughter.

As tennis’s greatest player of the open era, Williams need only look at her reflection in her trophy cabinet for instant self-belief.

Physiotherapist Mark Buckingham, who has helped several athletes return to competition after childbirth, comments: “People become better athletes when they have babies because they become able to put things into context.” This will indeed provide women with a “new power” at least until such time as the heart returns to prepartum levels.