Serena Williams was ‘terrified’ of birth

Serena Williams and daughterSerena Williams was ”terrified” of giving birth.

The 37-year-old tennis ace wanted to keep her two-year-old daughter Olympia, whom she has with her husband Alexis Ohanian, inside her belly because she had researched so much about the birthing process that she became frightened of it.

Speaking to the audience during an Advertising Week panel in New York, the sportswoman said: ”I met with this company, ‘Mommy and Me’ — which I invested in a while ago — and they are really bringing help and information to moms after they [give] birth. You get so much information before [having a baby], I was overloaded by what to do — so much so that I was frightened when it came time to give birth. I was like, ‘You know what, I’m just not gonna do it.’

”I was late, I was at my dad’s house and I was killing time. I think I was one of the few people who wanted to keep the baby inside. I was so terrified, but one of the things that this particular company is doing is helping women.”

However, Serena didn’t have an easy labour in the end as she had to undergo an emergency caesarean section but experienced life-threatening complications, which resulted in surgery to prevent blood clots travelling to her lungs.

She said: ”One minute, everything’s going according to plan, and then I’m being wheeled off for surgery. I was terrified, and it was a whole new kind of fear.”

Her husband, Alexis, added: ”The C-section was low on our wish list because of her history with blood clots. Any surgery that Serena has is potentially life-threatening. But we decided, ‘Well, OK, for the safety of mom, for the safety of the baby, we have to proceed with a C-section.”

The difficult birth led to Serena suffering with post-natal depression.

She recalled: ”I remember one day, I couldn’t find Olympia’s bottle and I got so upset I started crying … because I wanted to be perfect for her.”


Serena Williams’ Daughter Rocks the Runway

Serena Williams and daughterThe daughter of Serena Williams, Alexis Olympia, has made her New York Fashion Week debut!

The 2-year-old cutie rocked the runway with Williams on Tuesday, wearing a black top and colorful shoes, and with her hair piled into a high pony.

The tennis star was showcasing the Spring/Summer 2020 collection of her fashion line, Serena, at Metropolitan West in New York City.

The event marked the second runway show for the label.

Sitting in the front row was Kim Kardashian West, who attended with her pal, Lala Anthony. Gayle King and Ashley Graham were also reportedly in the audience.

Williams’ family fun came days after she was defeated by Canadian Bianca Andreescu at the U.S. Open while being cheered on by celebrities like Meghan Markle, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Natasha Bedingfield and Gigi Hadid.

While the loss came as a shock to some, Williams still has her “greatest achievement” — her daughter, whom she welcomed with husband Alexis Ohanian in 2017.

She recently took to social media to gush about how fulfilling motherhood has been.
“The last two years have been my greatest accomplishment,” she said while marking the little girl’s second birthday.


Hurting Serena withdraws from Cincinnati as US Open looms

Serena WilliamsSerena Williams withdrew prior to her opening match at the WTA Cincinnati Masters with a back injury, another blow to the 23-time Grand Slam champion’s US Open preparations.

Williams retired from the WTA final in Toronto just four games in with back spasms on Sunday, handing the title to Canadian Bianca Andreescu.

The US superstar, who trained on Tuesday morning in Cincinnati, advised officials prior to her scheduled first-round match against qualifier Zarina Diyas that she wouldn’t be able to play.

“I came to Mason (Ohio) on Sunday and have tried everything to be ready to play tonight, and was still hopeful after my practice this morning,” Williams said in a statement released by tournament officials.

“But unfortunately my back is still not right.”

It’s another injury blow for Williams, who has been hampered by knee trouble this season.

She was eyeing her first title since the 2017 Australian Open in Toronto, where the 37-year-old said she first felt back pain in her semi-final win over qualifier Marie Bouzkova.

She trailed Andreescu 3-1 when she decided she couldn’t continue in Sunday’s final, telling reporters the back spasms were something she’s dealt with before and that they were often fleeting.

Nevertheless her decision to pull out of Cincinnati struck an ominous note with the US Open starting on August 26.

Williams, who fell to Simona Halep in the Wimbledon final in July, remains one Grand Slam title away from matching Australian Margaret Court’s record of 24.

Her place in the Cincinnati draw was taken by 56th-ranked Jessica Pegula, who captured her first WTA title in Washington this month with a victory over Camila Giorgi in the final.


Thiem seeks to end Serena row with mixed doubles offer

Serena Williams in actionAustria’s Dominic Thiem has extended an olive branch to Serena Williams after their media room misunderstanding at the French Open by offering to partner the American in mixed doubles at Wimbledon or the U.S. Open.

Thiem, who finished runner-up at Roland Garros, was left fuming after being asked to make way for Williams at a post-match news conference following her third round defeat in the first week of the tournament.

Williams, who had just lost in straight sets to Sofia Kenin, was pushing organisers to give her a room right away and Thiem accused the American of showing “bad personality” and treating him like “a junior”.

“Probably it was not Serena’s mistake,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “I find her achievements unbelievable, sensational. I would like to make amends with her in Wimbledon or the U.S. Open mixed doubles.

“In retrospect, it was funny that such an organisational mistake happened at a Grand Slam tournament. What I do not understand is that it blew up so much.”

Thiem, a clay court specialist, said he wanted to improve his record at Wimbledon, where he has never reached the quarter-finals. He retired midway through his opening round match against Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis last year.

“Wimbledon is special,” the 25-year-old added. “I want to show myself better than last year. At that time I was slightly injured and had to give up in the first round. Now I see good chances to get relatively far.”


Meet Serena Williams: America’s Self-made Richest Woman

Serena Williams

This Serena Williams story appears in the Forbes Magazine. Subscribe

On Serena Williams’ calendar—which is to calendars what Jackson Pollock paintings are to art—Saturdays are designated family time. The Saturday I’m with her in Rome (she was in New York earlier in the week and will be in Paris the following one) carries extra significance. Exactly four years ago, in exactly that Eternal City, she met her husband, Alexis Ohanian, cofounder of online community Reddit.

The two celebrate, in part, with the kind of outing anyone who’s not the most famous woman athlete in the world takes for granted: a stroll in a hotel garden with their joint venture, 22-month-old Olympia, in tow. It’s more romantic than it sounds: The Rome Cavalieri goes so far as to call its 15-acre garden a “private park,” littered with marble and bronze, lions and unicorns.

The regal surroundings befit a historic figure of American sport, who has 23 Grand Slam titles and has blown away any number of barriers and stereotypes. And the unicorns? Between Reddit and his $500 million fund, Initialized Capital, Ohanian does his part. But it turns out that Williams has quietly been playing that game, too. She’s now the first athlete ever to hit Forbes’ annual list of the World’s Richest Self-Made Women, with an estimated fortune of $225 million, the vast majority of it having come via her brain and brand rather than her backhand. And over the past five years, she’s been quietly dropping money into 34 startups. In April, Williams formally announced that Serena Ventures is open for business, to fund others and launch companies herself.

Serena Williams

Athletes are richer than ever, thanks to the explosion in TV rights fees for live sporting events, which trickle down to players. The 50 highest-paid athletes in the world made $2.6 billion last year, versus $1 billion 15 years ago. And Williams is hardly the first to put newfound disposable income to active work—in the NBA alone, LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant have all launched media companies, and Durant, Andre Iguodala and Carmelo Anthony are active venture capital investors. But she is one of the few specifically gearing investments around a single north star: herself.

“I want to be a part of it,” she says, sitting at the hotel. “I want to be in the infrastructure. I want to be the brand, instead of just being the face.” Given her longtime background in style and design, that means overweighting on fashion lines, jewelry and beauty products. Yes, she’ll keep competing at tennis—her resilient comeback last year after giving birth burnished her as a cultural icon who transcends sports. And sure, she’ll happily continue to rake in easy endorsement money from the likes of Nike and JPMorgan Chase—her $29 million total income over the past 12 months is the highest of her career.

But like a ground stroke with torque, Williams bets she can eventually dwarf those figures by leveraging some of her own cash with her name and fame.


‘Show them what crazy can do’ – Serena stars in Nike Ads

The ad, titled ‘Dream Crazier’, has a powerful message and takes on how women are perceived during intense moments in the sporting world.That divide is something Williams knows all too well after a documented dispute with a chair umpire at the 2018 US Open.

Following an argument with Carlos Ramos, in which Williams labelled Ramos a ‘thief’, the US open fined Williams NZ$30,000. The ruling was controversial given what male players have been seen to get away with in the past.

In the commercial, which launched during the 2019 Academy Awards, Williams shifts the narrative in a positive direction showing examples of what ‘crazy’ women can accomplish.

The spot features a number of prominent female athletes, including Williams, who have broken barriers and paved the way for future generations.

“So if they wanna call you crazy, fine,” Williams reads.

“Show them what crazy can do.”

The commercial ends with the: “It’s only crazy until you do it,” which fades into Nike’s historic slogan ‘Just do it.”


Serena Williams backs WTA increased ranking protection for new mothers

Serena Williams has praised the introduction of more ranking protection for new mothers on the WTA Tour.

Players coming back from childbirth or injury can use their previous ranking to enter 12 tournaments over a three-year period.

In addition, they will not face a seeded player in an opening round.

“I think it’s great,” said Williams who gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia in September 2017 and returned to action in February 2018.

“Women that are younger can go out there and have kids and not have to worry about it, and not have to wait until the twilight of their years to have children, and I think it’s a really great rule.”

Williams, 37, was not seeded at the French Open, her first Grand Slam appearance following her return, but was given a seeding of 25 for Wimbledon, despite being outside the top 32 in the rankings. She is now ranked 16th and will be seeded for next month’s Australian Open.

The WTA’s rule change comes after the organisation canvassed the opinions of players earlier in the year.

World number one Simona Halep and five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova had both offered their support to Williams, but others like Petra Kvitova, Victoria Azarenka and Johanna Konta expressed reservations.

Williams added: “I think having gone through the experience myself really opened my eyes. Would have I done it sooner had there been different rule changes? I don’t know. But now there is an opportunity, people don’t have to ask that question.”

The 23-time Grand Slam champion will be in action against sister Venus in Abu Dhabi on Thursday in her first match since September’s US Open final defeat by Japan’s Naomi Osaka. That match was overshadowed by her outburst at chair umpire Carlos Ramos, whom she called a “liar” and “thief”.

She was docked a game for verbal abuse following a point penalty for racquet smashing and a code violation for coaching. She was subsequently fined for her outbursts.


Roger Federer says Serena Williams ‘went too far’

Serena Williams
Roger Federer has admitted that he thinks Serena Williams “went too far” during her controversial row with umpire Carlos Ramos during the US Open women’s final.

Williams accused the umpire of being a “thief” and a “liar” in the third set of her eventual defeat to Naomi Osaka in New York, which overshadowed the 20-year-old Japanese star’s maiden Grand Slam victory.

Federer, who has stuck to the middle path on such matters in the past, admitted that the 23-time Grand Slam champion overstepped the mark.
“It’s a melange of all things, but at some point, I feel like Serena should have walked away,” Federer said to the Sunday Times Magazine. “She did, but she went too far. She should have walked earlier. It’s a little bit excusable. The umpire maybe should not have pushed her there. It’s unfortunate, but an incredible case study.”

“Anything that’s good for society and gets the ball rolling, I’m all for it,” he continued. “We do so well in tennis; our sport is so well behaved. You see the UFC guy [the boxer Conor McGregor] throw a railing, or in other sports they spit and swear at each other on a regular basis. I dove into the situation with Serena on so many levels, to understand [from the perspectives of] the umpire, Osaka, Serena, the crowd.”

Federer did go on to defend the catsuit, which Williams wore at the French Open but was later banned by the French Tennis Federation, as well as Alize Cornet who was given a court violation at the US Open for changing her shirt on court after realising it was the wrong way round.

“What was the problem with taking the T-shirt off, or the catsuit?” he shrugs. “Serena has worn crazier stuff in the past. Guys have worn crazier stuff. It was a big deal when Tommy Haas wore a sleeveless top at the US Open and then, all of a sudden, it was allowed. For me, it was a bit of nonsense. Just chill out for a second. I was totally on the women’s side. Leave them alone. They are not coming on court wearing wings.”

Federer has been in stuttering form since clinching his 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open at the beginning of the year.

Having rested during the clay court season, the 37-year-old was knocked out in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon by Kevin Anderson and then by John Millman in the fourth round of the US Open. However, the Swiss star did secure his 99th career title last week on home turf in Basel, defeating Marius Copil in straight-sets in the final.


Serena’s Husband Slams Controversial Cartoon as ‘Racist’

The multi-millionaire husband of Serena Williams has broken his silence in the wake of his partner’s meltdown at the US Open and the cartoon controversy that followed.

Alexis Ohanian Sr, 35, claimed the cartoon, drawn by Herald Sun cartoonist Mark Knight, was both ‘racist’ and ‘misogynistic’ in a Twitter post on Thursday.

‘I am truly perplexed to learn this editor of the Australian newspaper behind the blatantly racist and misogynistic cartoon of my wife is a “Male Champion of Change”,’ he wrote.

‘Is this supposed to be satire, too?’

A number of Twitter users showed their support on the social media site.

‘Lord help Serena to win 4 more GS (sic) to silent (sic(all the haters in Jesus name we her fans have been here before and still she rise do it again,’ one fan wrote.

a screenshot of a cell phone: He tweeted out his response to the cartoon on his account and garnered both support and some backlash for his comments
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

He tweeted out his response to the cartoon on his account and garnered both support and some backlash for his comments

‘You’re the best husband and dad anyone could ask for! She’ll come back and prove all of them wrong!!,’ another added.

However some Twitter users weren’t so quick to forget the reason for the cartoon in the first place.

‘Sorry Serena acted terrible. The umpires take a lot of crap from male and female multi millionaire players. Serena ruined Naomi’s day,’ one user wrote.

‘Stop crying! Your wife acted like a two-year-old throwing her toys out of her crib while she was getting her b*** beat down by a 20-year-old … her behavior was disgusting to watch. I asked my daughter learn from it,’ another added.

‘But you are not perplexed with her behavior last Saturday?’ another user wrote.

Herald Sun editor Damon Johnston defended the cartoon and Mr Knight in the aftermath of the cartoon being published.

‘A champion tennis player had a mega tantrum on the world stage, and Mark’s cartoon depicted that. It had nothing to do with gender or race,’ he said.

The cartoon took away from the original scandal that erupted around Williams’ behaviour during the most recent US Open women’s final.

Since the final some players have spoken publicly and thrown their support behind umpire Carlos Ramos after Williams labeled him a ‘thief’ and a ‘liar’.

World number 25 Barbora Strycova said Williams outburst was ‘bulls***’.

‘In comparison, I never saw (Rafael) Nadal shouting like that with an umpire,’ she said.

‘Ramos is tough, one of the best umpires in the world, he did what he had to do in that match, because she overstepped the limit. Did she have to behave differently only because she was Serena Williams? I find it interesting that she did it only when she was losing.’

The International Tennis Federation also threw its support behind Ramos.

‘Carlos Ramos is one of the most experienced and respected umpires in tennis,’ the statement read.

‘Mr. Ramos’ decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules and were reaffirmed by the U.S. Open’s decision to fine Serena Williams for the three offences.’

‘It is important to remember that Mr. Ramos undertook his duties as an official according to the relevant rule book and acted at all times with professionalism and integrity.’

Martina Navratilova, an 18-time Grand Slam singles champion, also took a swipe at Williams’ behaviour.

‘I don’t believe it’s a good idea to apply a standard of, ‘If men can get away with it, women should be able to, too’,’ she said.

‘Rather, I think the question we have to ask ourselves is this: What is the right way to behave to honour our sport and to respect our opponents?’

She said Williams’ outburst ‘poisoned the atmosphere’ for her opponent Naomi Osaka.


Day Serena Williams suffers most lopsided defeat of career

Serena Williams

Serena Williams walked off the court offering waves to a supportive Bay Area crowd that certainly didn’t expect to see the 23-time Grand Slam champion’s early exit.

In the most lopsided defeat of her career, Williams’ disappointing night ended in less than an hour as she lost her opening match of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic on Tuesday night to Johanna Konta, 6-1, 6-0.

When the 52-minute match ended on Williams’ forehand into the net, she quickly grabbed her gear and headed off the court. She had never won only one game — she won her serve for the initial game Tuesday then not another. She got two games at the 2014 WTA finals in Singapore, falling 6-0, 6-2 to Simona Halep.

“I know I can play a zillion times better so that kind of helps out, too. I have so many things on my mind I don’t have time to be shocked about a loss that clearly wasn’t at my best right now,” Williams said. “When I was out there, was fighting. That’s the only thing I can say, I wasn’t just like giving it away and I was moving a lot better. So I’m just trying to take the positives out of it.”

While Williams was encouraged by her court coverage, she hardly looked like herself on a cool summer evening. She double-faulted and landed drop shots in the net. Williams missed returns and sprayed her groundstrokes long and wide.

Konta, who captured her first WTA title two years ago at Stanford, got on a roll with a quick first set and didn’t take a chance in letting Williams get back in it. Konta closed the first game of the second with consecutive aces under 100 mph.

“I think she played well in the second set,” Williams said. “I wasn’t sharp at all in the first set and I think she got confident and clearly ran away with it.”

The sixth-seeded Williams is a three-time champion in the Bay Area. This marked the fifth tournament for the 36-year-old Williams since giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia, last September. It’s her first tournament since her straight-set Wimbledon loss to Angelique Kerber.

Williams shrugged in disbelief when things went well, and when they didn’t. She gestured with her hand when the ball hit the lowest part of the net.

Williams had moments of brilliant shot-making to win long rallies, then would put a drop shot into the net and sigh in disappointment.

The good shots were to be celebrated.

She pumped her left arm and yelled “yes!” after winning the first point of the second game in the second. Williams then outlasted Konta for a long third point but was unable to hold serve.

“It’s difficult, I guess. It’s not I guess, for sure,” she said of trying to find that consistency again.

Williams, wearing a long-sleeved red dress and headband and cheered by the pro-Williams crowd, lost her second service game in the initial set and Konta then held for 3-1 as Williams made unforced errors with her timing not quite consistently there on the serve and ground game.

In the sixth game of the first set, Konta hit a 101 mph ace for ad then Williams got it back to deuce before Konta held for 5-1.

Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion, returned to the Bay Area event for what is the former Stanford WTA stop that moved to San Jose State University for the first time.

Big sister Venus is also playing here this week.

From here, Serena Williams goes to Montreal next week as she received a wild card into the Rogers Cup.

Following her loss in the Wimbledon final to Angelique Kerber, Williams said she had proven to herself that she could still compete to win Grand Slams.

Her next Grand Slam title would tie her with Margaret Court for the most with 24. She already has the most major trophies in the professional era.

Williams was treated for frightening blood clots after having her baby. At the All England Club, she wore special compression leggings as a precaution.