Last month, Taylor Townsend revealed that she's expecting to have her first child in March. The 24-year-old opened up about her new journey into motherhood in an interview with ESPN.
She was inspired by seeing mothers making huge waves at the US Open.
"It was strange being so close to the final with Asia [Muhammad] and knowing I'll soon be part of that category," Townsend said.
In New York, the world No. 89-ranked American had a front row seat to watching Serena Williams, Tsvetana Pironkova, Victoria Azarenka and Vera Zvonareva all vying for titles. Role models like them have given Townsend hope that being a mother and professional athlete can be done as long as there is balance.
Townsend knows the road in front of her will be a challenging one, but she welcomes it.
"My entire life, my entire career, I've heard 'You can't, you won't' and I've used it as a reason to fight hard and motivation to keep playing," she said on Instagram. "I'm sure this won't be any different, so I'll have to prove them wrong again."
Although Townsend had a prized junior career, winning the 2012 Junior Australian Open and multiple junior doubles Grand Slam titles, she has had ups and downs during her pro career.
She broke through at the 2014 French Open as a teen, but her ranking would dip and she'd be back on the ITF tour for years, before finding a solid footing on the WTA tour. Townsend would even compete against a 69-year-old woman in an ITF draw, which she later said was a "slap in the face."
The American kept going and in 2018 she reached her highest career ranking of world No. 61. In 2019, she'd reach the fourth round of the uS Open as a qualifier with a win over Simona Halep.
"I belong on these stages, and playing against these players, and on any given day I can win these matches," Townsend told ESPN. "After playing for so many years, it was such a shift in my self-belief and knowing I belong here and I can do this."
Townsend found out that she was pregnant during World Team Tennis back in July and said the surprising news turned into excitement quickly. She'd reach the US Open semifinal alongside her partner Muhammed, all while keeping her news secret from the public.
Townsend and Muhammad started the 2020 season by defeating Caroline Wozniacki and Serena Williams in the final of Auckland, and they also captured the Indian Wells Oracle Challenger Series crown in March. They plan to reunite when Townsend returns to the tour sometime in 2022.
In the meantime, Townsend is still training nearly every day to keep her fitness levels up and make her comeback a little bit easier.