She pulled out of the Rogers Cup, citing ‘personal reasons’, and now Serena Williams has shared the reason why via her social media account. In one of the most candid and refreshing posts we’ve seen in a long time, Serena explained: “Last week was not easy for me. Not only was I accepting some tough personal stuff, but I just was in a funk. Mostly, I felt like I was not a good mom. I read several articles that said postpartum emotions can last up to 3 years if not dealt with.
I like communication best. Talking things through with my mom, my sisters, my friends let me know that my feelings are totally normal. It’s totally normal to feel like I’m not doing enough for my baby. We have all been there. I work a lot, I train, and I’m trying to be the best athlete I can be.
However, that means although I have been with her every day of her life, I’m not around as much as I would like to be. Most of you moms deal with the same thing. Whether stay-at-home or working, finding that balance with kids is a true art. You are the true heroes. I’m here to say: if you are having a rough day or week–it’s ok–I am, too!!! There’s always tomm!” We’re so glad to see someone in the public eye being so honest about mental health.
When she won the most Grand Slam titles of all time
Serena made history in Melbourne in January 2017 when she won her 23rd Grand Slam (whilst in the early stages of pregnancy). She first became the world number one 15 years ago, and at 35 she’s stronger than ever. That’s what you call longevity.
When she had the best response to a journalist
Following her Wimbledon semi-final victory against Elena Vesnina in 2016, Serena was asked at a press conference how she felt about being “one of the greatest female athletes of all time.”
Her answer? “I prefer the words ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time'”. Yes, girl.
When she appeared in Beyoncé’s music video
Serena made a cameo in Bey’s ‘Sorry’ video, as part of her visual album Lemonade – and this lady knows how to twerk!
“I’ve known the director since I was like nine years old and I know Beyoncé pretty well,” she told the Associated Press. “They were like, ‘We would love for you to be in this particular song. It’s about strength and it’s about courage and that’s what we see you as.'”
Queen B + Serena = the ultimate power duo.
When she slammed Novak Djokovic and Raymond Moore for their sexist comments
In March 2016, Indian Wells CEO and tournament director Raymond Moore controversially slated female tennis players saying: “If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport. They really have.”
Djokovic also weighed in: “I think that our men’s tennis world, ATP world, should fight for more money because the stats are showing that we have much more spectators on the men’s tennis matches. I think that’s one of the reasons why maybe we should get awarded more.”
When questioned about their comments, Serena told ESPN: “Obviously, I don’t think any woman should be down on their knees thanking anybody like that. If I could tell you every day how many people say they don’t watch tennis unless they’re watching myself or my sister, I couldn’t even bring up that number. So, I don’t think that is a very accurate statement. I think there are a lot of women out there who are more … are very exciting to watch. I think there are a lot of men out there who are exciting to watch. I think it definitely goes both ways. I think those remarks are very much mistaken and very, very, very inaccurate.”
Moore resigned days later.
When she told body shamers to do one
“I’ve been like this my whole life, and I embrace me and I love how I look,” she said on Good Morning America. “I love that I am a full woman, and I’m strong and I’m powerful and I’m beautiful at the same time. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I just don’t have time to be brought down. I have too many things to do, you know. I have Grand Slams to win. I have people to inspire. And that’s what I’m here for.”
When she hinted that being asked to twirl was sexist
In 2015, Tennis Australia commentator Ian Cohen, asked Serena and Eugenie Bouchard to twirl during an on-court interview, and his strange request received widespread criticism. Serena later said: “I wouldn’t ask Rafa (Nadal) or Roger (Federer) to twirl.”
When she created her own clothing line
Serena spent two years at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale’s fashion school, so this isn’t just a sports star putting her name to something. Her label Signature Statement has been modelled by Gigi Hadid and Lily Aldrige on the New York Fashion Week runway, with Beyoncé and Anna Wintour sitting front row.
“It’s definitely not something I just slap my name on,” she told US GLAMOUR. “My mom taught me how to sew when I was super young; I used to make clothes for my dolls”.
When she gave us serious sibling goals
Venus Williams is older than Serena by just 15 months, and she’s an equally impressive tennis player. Together they dominate every world tournament, often facing each other in finals, but Serena has said she would be “nothing” without her sister.
The girls’ success story is pretty special, too – they’re literally straight outta Compton. After watching a tennis match on television and seeing the female winner granted a $40,000 cheque, their father decided that his next daughters (whom at this time were yet to be born) would be professional tennis players.
Venus and Serena overcame their humble beginnings, racism and sexism… and the rest is history.