Why Serena Williams Isn’t Allowed to Stay at Her Own Home During the French Open

The French Open, like countless other sporting events around the globe, is very different this year than it has been in years past. It’s also a major adjustment for the athletes competing in it including Serena Williams.

The tennis superstar has an apartment in Paris but is banned from going anywhere near her own property during the competition. Read on to find out why.

Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding
Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding | Al Bello/Getty Images

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Why Serena Williams cannot stay at her apartment

Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic around the world, players participating in the French Open are only permitted to stay at one of two hotels in Paris to keep them inside a bubble. This means that Williams cannot go to her apartment in the city as it’s located outside the tournament bubble.

The Sun noted that Bernard Giudicelli, the French Tennis Federation president, talked about this on the Rock n Roll Tennis podcast saying: “We cannot speak about Roland Garros as a bubble. But it’s a ‘corridor’ where the players are protected. But even French players who own flats, we have told them you cannot be in your own houses. If you are, then we multiply the risks to get COVID-19.”

According to the New York Times, there have been over 495,000 confirmed cases of the virus in France and more than 30,000 deaths.

Williams has a pre-existing medical condition

Serena Williams
Serena Williams | Al Bello/Getty Images

Earlier this month, Williams told reporters that she was hopeful she’d be able to stay at her Parisian flat during the tournament.

“Yeah, I was hoping to stay at my apartment in Paris, but, you know, I’m just taking it a day at a time,” Williams stated via the New York Post. “I feel the French, they are doing the best that they can. You know, it’s hard. Every organization, every country is trying to do the best that they can in this pandemic, so I can’t point fingers and tell them what to do, because I’m not running the tournament.”

She added: “I do have some serious health issues, so I try to stay away from public places. I have been in a really bad position in the hospital a few times. So I don’t want to end up in that position again.”

Williams was hospitalized in 2011 for bilateral pulmonary embolisms following foot surgery. The Mayo Clinic notes this is when material — usually a blood clot– travels to the lungs and gets stuck in one of the arteries. The blockage then makes it hard to get oxygen to the rest of the body.

Williams suffered serious complications giving birth to her daughter

On September 1, 2017, the Queen of the Court gave birth to a healthy baby girl via C-section, however, Williams had severe complications following the delivery.

She began experiencing shortness of breath. Since she just had the C-section she was off of her regular anticoagulant (blood thinners) medication and feared she had blood clots. That turned out to be the case. 

Doctors found a hematoma had filled her abdomen, so they inserted a filter into a major vein to prevent more clots from entering her lungs. She had to stay in the hospital for an extra week and was ordered to stay in bed at home for six more weeks.

Williams said that her actual pregnancy leading up to the birth though was “really easy.”