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Mother Minella expects more WTA players to have children

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Paris (AFP)

Luxembourg's Mandy Minella says she expects there will soon be more mothers playing on the WTA Tour as she "enjoys" the nomadic life with her family.

The 33-year-old, who was knocked out of the French Open in the second round by Latvian 12th seed Anastasija Sevastova on Wednesday, has a one-year-old daughter Emma Lina, who was born in October 2017.

Other mothers on the circuit include 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams and former world number one Victoria Azarenka.

"Definitely (there will be more mothers on tour), because we've proved that it's possible," world number 100 Minella said at Roland Garros.

"Players will play longer because there's more prize money and you can keep the body fitter for the upcoming years.

"It's not like 15 years ago when they retired in their early 20s.

"It's changing and it's definitely possible for a woman to be at the best of her career at early 30s, so for sure, there will be more children on the tour."

Minella has had something of a resurgence in recent months and claimed her first-ever main-draw win at the French Open in the first round against Australian Open quarter-finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Monday.

Her daughter usually travels on tour with her and husband and coach Tim Sommer, but she has stayed in nearby Luxembourg with her grandparents due to the busy nature of Paris.

"She's with us most of the time. This is the first time we didn't bring her because it's very crowded and Grand Slams are full of people," added Minella, who had said after her first-round win that she only didn't visit her daughter before Wednesday's match because it would be "unprofessional" to leave midway through a Grand Slam tournament.

"She enjoys it. I'm not sure if she realises where she is but she's with us and she's very happy and we enjoy being with the family because when we have the free time we can still do a lot of stuff.

"We are mostly at nice places so we really enjoy it."

Minella's Paris run ended with a 6-2, 6-4 loss to Sevastova, who was her doubles partner in her final match of 2017 before taking a break from the sport to give birth.

She also played while four months pregnant at Wimbledon that year, and she will be back at the All England Club in July after securing her place in the main draw.

Minella admits it isn't always easy juggling motherhood with being a professional tennis player.

"It is difficult but I have the help of my family, and that helps, but it's definitely more difficult.

"You have less focus on the tennis, which also helps sometimes, but the secret is to find the balance and to make the best of it."

Minella won't be able to make the two-hour train journey back to see Emma Lina just yet though -- she opens her doubles campaign alongside Belgium's Alison Van Uytvanck on Thursday.

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