Serena Williams Talks Motherhood & Tennis
Serena Williams and her daughter Alexis Olympia are covering the latest issue of Vogue.
At the tender age of 36, the tennis champ and new mommy and wife opens up about how she’s handling motherhood, why she feels she was finally able to beat her sister Venus Williams and how limit women themselves.
See the excerpts and photos from the shoot below.
On motherhood testing her at times:
Sometimes I get really down and feel like, Man, I can’t do this. It’s that same negative attitude I have on the court sometimes. I guess that’s just who I am. No one talks about the low moments—the pressure you feel, the incredible letdown every time you hear the baby cry. I’ve broken down I don’t know how many times. Or I’ll get angry about the crying, then sad about being angry, and then guilty, like, Why do I feel so sad when I have a beautiful baby? The emotions are insane.
The advice her mother gave her:
Obedience brings protection; that’s what my mom told me. 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.
If she wants Alexis to play tennis professionally:
I would hate her to have to deal with comparisons or expectations. It’s so much work, and I’ve given up so much. I don’t regret it, but it’s like Sliding Doors: Go through a different door and lead a different life. I’d like her to have a normal life. I didn’t have that.
Why she hates playing against her sister, Venus Williams:
I know that her career might have been different if she had had my health. I know how hard she works. I hate playing her because she gets this look on her face where she just looks sad if she’s losing. Solemn. It breaks my heart. So when I play her now, I absolutely don’t look at her, because if she gets that look, then I’ll start feeling bad, and the next thing you know I’ll be losing. I think that’s when the turning point came in our rivalry, when I stopped looking at her.
How women sometimes limit themselves:
I think sometimes women limit themselves. I’m not sure why we think that way, but I know that we’re sometimes taught to not dream as big as men, not to believe we can be a president or a CEO, when in the same household, a male child is told he can be anything he wants. I’m so glad I had a daughter. I want to teach her that there are no limits.