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Complicated Delivery Ultimately Kept Williams from Competing in Melbourne

Serena Williams went through a difficult pregnancy and needed two months before she could begin training again, and that led to her ultimate withdrawal from the 2018 Australian Open last week.

"The thing is, when she gave birth, things didn't go as smooth as she expected,” Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou told ESPN last week. “She had some complications—I mean, the baby was perfect, but she had some issues afterwards—and these medical issues delayed the moment that she could come back to practice."

Williams attempted to get fit in time to make a run at her 24th major title in Melbourne, but after losing an exhibition match in Abu Dhabi to Jelena Ostapenko, she thought better of it.

No matter, says her coach. Nothing has changed—the timeline of her return has merely been pushed back.

"Your life changes, but the athlete, the competitor, is the same, exactly the same," he said of the 36-year-old legend. "I didn't see any difference. She thinks the same way, she acts the same and for those who were wondering. ... I can tell that she didn't change, when it comes to business, her tennis -- she is exactly the same person. I am not worrying at all.

Williams is now expected back at Indian Wells in March or Miami in early April. Her coach says she wouldn’t bother if she didn’t feel she could win more majors.

"Whatever happened [on the tour] in her absence, if she comes back, it is to win,” he told ESPN. “So she will come back to win. Will she do it or not? Only [time] will tell, but she comes back to win."