Serena Williams opens up to Vogue for its February issue, posing for the cover alongside daughter Olympia and dishing on her new approach to tennis

By Jen Juneau
January 10, 2018 05:55 PM
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Serena Williams may be forgoing the Australian Open this year, but motherhood has only made her more determined to clench titles.

“To be honest, there’s something really attractive about the idea of moving to San Francisco and just being a mom … But not yet,” the tennis champion — who welcomed her first child, daughter Alexis Olympia, with husband Alexis Ohanian in September — tells Vogue for its February issue, referencing the headquarters city of Reddit, which Ohanian co-founded.

“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,” adds Williams, 36, adding of her record-breaking hopes, “It’s not a secret that I have my sights on 25 … 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,” she explains. “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,” Williams says. “I want them, but I don’t need them. That’s a different feeling for me.”

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Serena Williams and daughter Alexis Olympia for Vogue
Mario Testino

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Whether (or when, as many fans would likely say) that 25th Grand Slam title one day becomes a reality is a mystery for now. But the new mom doesn’t mind — in fact, she’s completely infatuated with her new role.

“We’re not spending a day apart until she’s 18,” the professional athlete tells Vogue in what the magazine refers to as a “half-joking” tone.

“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,” she adds. “Oh, my God, I loved my dolls.”

Serena Williams and daughter Alexis Olympia for Vogue
Vogue

Williams recalls how stressed she felt when vying for her 18th Grand Slam title, and how the experience in feeling overwhelmed when she needed to refocus her energy inspired her in a big way — one she wants to eventually pass down to Olympia.

Mario Testino

“I think sometimes women limit themselves,” she says. “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.”

Williams adds, “I’m so glad I had a daughter. I want to teach her that there are no limits.”