In the week leading up to her domination of the Australian Open, Serena Williams took six pregnancy tests to confirm something that was then unthinkable. She won her 23rd Grand Slam singles title with her new little one growing inside her, anyway.
“[I] did a double take and my heart dropped. Like literally dropped,” Williams, 35, told Vanity Fair in her cover story for the magazine’s August issue. Williams thought: “Oh my God, this can’t be – I’ve got to play a tournament. How am I going to play the Australian Open? I had planned on winning in Wimbledon this year.”
She and the 34-year-old Reddit co-founder opened up about their love story to the magazine, with Williams revealing the moment she handed Ohanian a paper bag containing half-a-dozen positive pregnancy tests.
“If you would have told me last year in October or November that I would have a baby, not be pregnant but have a baby, I would have thought you were the biggest liar in the world,” Williams said. “This is kind of how I am right now. This is happening sooner than later, and it’s going by so fast.”
The athlete’s belly has grown since Williams first revealed the news when she was about 20 weeks along. The bump is on full display in stunning photos of the mom-to-be posing for legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz.
From nude shots of Williams cradling her belly to a regal photo of the tennis great’s bump poking through an orange garment, each photo further cements Williams’ queen status.
While a friend of the star told Vanity Fair that Williams “loves being pregnant,” the expectant mother hasn’t made many preparations for the new little one due in September. (The couple is waiting for delivery day to find out the sex.)
“I don’t know what to do with a baby,” she said. “I’ve done absolutely nothing for the baby room.”
However, Ohanian is more eager than ever to get everything in his life baby-ready. In fact, Ohanian has been using the Reddit website to read up on some parenting tips and tricks.
“My favorite [tip] is to sleep with a blanket for like a month before the due date so you get your dad scent all over it,” he told Today Parents Monday. “And then wrap the baby in it once it shows up, so they’re not just immediately bonding with Mom, but also getting a bit of Dad.”
Although Williams is not sure what motherhood will bring, she is certain of one thing: she will return to competitive tennis in January 2018.
“I don’t think my story is over yet,” she said.
While her story as one of the greatest athlete’s of all time has long been underway, her love story with Ohanian began a little over two years ago when they met by chance in Rome. Williams was in the city for the Italian Open and Ohanian to speak at a tech conference. The two ended up staying at the Cavalieri hotel where Ohanian sat a bit too close to the athlete and her crew in the pool area.
“This big guy comes and he just plops down at the table next to us, and I’m like, ‘Huh! All these tables and he’s sitting here?’ ” Williams recalled. Her friends decided to tell Ohanian there was a rat by his table — a white lie — in an effort to get him to move, according to Vanity Fair.
“I’m from Brooklyn,” Ohanian responded. “I see rats all the time.”
With that, Williams invited the then-stranger to her table. Months later, they went on their first date: a romantic, six-hour walk through the streets of Paris.
Ohanian had never been much into tennis — “[I] never watched a match on television or in real life,” he said — but that all changed when he met his wife-to-be.
“Looks like I just became a tennis fan,” he wrote alongside a May 2015 Instagram photo of Williams on the court.
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With their love blossoming, it’s no wonder Williams knew Ohanian was going to propose when he invited her back to the pool area of the Italian hotel in December 2016.
“I knew it was coming,” she recalled. “I was like, ‘Serena, you’re 35, you’re ready. This is what you want.'”