Serena Williams had goals of being a mom, before being a tennis star ever crossed her mind.
Serena and her adorable daughter, Alexis Ohanian, Jr. are the cover story for the Februrary issue of Vogue magazine… and inside the publication the tennis star shares her motherhood journey, and getting back to tennis to beat the Grand Slam record.
“Now that I’m 36 and I look at my baby, I remember that this was also one of my goals when I was little, before tennis took over, when I was still kind of a normal girl who played with dolls. Oh, my God, I loved my dolls.”
The tennis star also reveals something that we kinda was already picking up from the athlete… That she wants to break the Grand Slam record, but at the same time would be okay just raising her daughter.
“Knowing I’ve got this beautiful baby to go home to makes me feel like I don’t have to play another match.”
“To be honest, there’s something really attractive about the idea of moving to San Francisco and just being a mom,” she says. Reddit, the news aggregator of which Alexis is a cofounder, is based there, and they’ve just found a house in Silicon Valley. “But not yet. Maybe this goes without saying, but it needs to be said in a powerful way: I absolutely want more Grand Slams. I’m well aware of the record books, unfortunately. It’s not a secret that I have my sights on 25.” She means 25 Grand Slam victories, which would surpass the record of 24 held by the Australian tennis legend Margaret Court and make her the undisputed greatest of all time. (Serena, already widely regarded as the best there ever was, currently owns 23.) “And actually, I think having a baby might help. When I’m too anxious I lose matches, and I feel like a lot of that anxiety disappeared when Olympia was born. Knowing I’ve got this beautiful baby to go home to makes me feel like I don’t have to play another match. I don’t need the money or the titles or the prestige. I want them, but I don’t need them. That’s a different feeling for me.”
A much-anticipated return to the women’s tour. Marriage. Motherhood. Has any of it slowed our February cover star @SerenaWilliams down? Apparently not. At all. Watch her crush the #LemonDanceChallenge in the link in our bio. Director @bardiazeinali Fashion Editor @anjuhlow2 DP @santiago_g3 Second Camera Carlos Martinez Santana First AC @chevyanderson Hair @vernonfrancois Makeup @sirjohnofficial Choreographer Garry Lewis Movement Coach @mettenarrative Gaffer Nicolas Donadio Key Grip Paul Womack Sound @roasteve Production @geprojects Editor @instagrahamsam, @modern.post Animations @gloriafx Featuring Wendy Rodriguez, Nickolas Chilcote Music “Lemon” by @nerd and @badgalriri Filmed at Palm Beach International Airport With thanks to @wheelsup8760
“Obedience brings protection; that’s what my mom told me,” Serena says. “That’s straight from the Bible.”
Her mother, Oracene Price, has been staying in Florida to help out. She has encouraged Serena to relax around her daughter and is making the case for a strict parenting style in an era in which children often have the last word.
“Obedience brings protection; that’s what my mom told me,” Serena says. “That’s straight from the Bible, and she wrote it down on paper and gave it to me. I was always obedient: Whatever my parents told me to do, I did. There was no discussion. Maybe I had a little rebellious phase in my 20s, when I tried liquor for the first time. Maybe having a baby on the tennis tour is the most rebellious thing I could ever do.”
“I see the finish line. And when you see the finish line, you don’t slow down. You speed up.”
With Olympia home and healthy and the wedding behind her, it’s time to shift focus to her day job. She knows that she’s hurtling toward immortality, and she doesn’t take it lightly.
“I’ve been playing tennis since before my memories started,” she says. “At my age, I see the finish line. And when you see the finish line, you don’t slow down. You speed up.”