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“Hopefully making him proud” – Taylor Townsend scores first Grand Slam singles win since giving birth to son

In a battle between wildcards, Townsend defeated Diane Parry 6-1, 6-1 on Tuesday for a milestone win in her career

Taylor Townsend at the 2022 US Open Taylor Townsend at the 2022 US Open Image Credit: AI/Reuters/Panoramic
Australian Open •First round • completed
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Tuesday marked a milestone win for American wildcard Taylor Townsend at the Australian Open. The American defeated French wildcard Diane Parry 6-1, 6-1 to reach the second round at Melbourne Park.

The win was special marking the 26-year-old’s first Grand Slam singles win since giving birth to her son, Adyn Aubrey, in March 2021.

Townsend, ranked No 135 in the world in singles, returned to the tour last year and although she lost in the first round of the French Open and US Open, she met with more success in doubles, reaching the semis in Paris and the final at Flushing Meadows.

That success continued in 2023 as she won back-to-back doubles title in Adelaide to climb to No 22 in the doubles rankings but did not pick up a singles win coming into the first Grand Slam of the season.

With her win on Tuesday, the American said she hoped she was making her son proud, whom she had a difficult time leaving behind for her trip Down Under.

“When I left home, I was pretty sad. I’m sure you guys saw my Instagram thing where I was like, I’m going to miss you so much, crying and everything. You know, what I said in my post was, like, when I leave, it’s incredibly important for me to make the times that I leave count. I talk to him, and before my matches I look at pictures and videos and just remind myself of, like, why I’m doing this and why I’m away, so it means something,” Townsend said.

“It really is special to make these moments count and to be able to show the ups and downs. You just have to keep your head down and continue to push on. I’m just trying to be the best example that I can for him both when he is with me and, you know, he is not here, but hopefully making him proud.”

“Clijsters is really the OG person that started having a baby and then coming back” – Townsend gets advice from the Belgian

Townsend has seen several women tread the same path as her in recent years, including Victoria Azarenka, who advanced to the second round in Melbourne on Monday, Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters. The American listed Clijsters, who won three of her four Grand Slams as a mom, as one of the people who has given her a lot of good advice on being a tennis mom.

“I definitely did seek advice from Serena and Kim Clijsters gave me a lot of advice. She’s so chill and so relaxed. She was, like, Just take your time. You know, enjoy it. That was my plan anyway, but to hear — she’s really the OG person that started, like, having a baby and then coming back. Her advice was very important to me because she did it and she lived it, and then came back better, won a slam and then bounced out (laughing). I think it’s the best way to do things. Her advice was just really enjoy being a mom, don’t rush, and take your time because you don’t want to come back feeling pressure or anything like that. That was kind of my mentality when I was coming back. I want to enjoy being a mother. I want to understand my son. I don’t want to feel the pressure of, like, I have to play.”

My bank account and Serena’s bank account, very different (laughing).

Taylor Townsend

Despite having other women to look up to, Townsend acknowledged that her journey has been quite different, simply because she does not have the same as financial situation as some of her more accomplished peers.

“You have to take into consideration (that the) financial situation of everyone is different. Like, my financial situation versus Kim’s financial situation versus Serena’s versus Vika’s, we’re in different circles. For me I was, by a certain time, I need to start playing so I can start making some money again. I need to start replenishing the pot. You know, all of those factors matter. You can’t be naive to those things. My bank account and Serena’s bank account, very different (laughing),” the American, who also worked as an analyst for Tennis Channel during her maternity break, said.

With a guaranteed paycheck of A$158,850 for reaching the second round i singles, Townsend’s pot should be replenished for a while and the American will hope to make it count even more when she takes on Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova, the No 19 seed, on Thursday for a spot in the third round at Melbourne Park for the first time in her career.

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