Lauded the world over as one of history's greatest athletes, we're celebrating Serena WIlliams' first Wimbledon as a mum with a look back at her greatest moments.
1. When she made history… while pregnant
In January 2017, Serena Williams officially became the winner of the most Grand Slams in the history of tennis—a title she took from former record holder Roger Federer—when she won her 23rd at the Australian Open against her sister, Venus.
Serena's 23rd Slam win came 18 years after her first, meaning that she's won a title in three different decades. Indeed, so impressive is Serena's record that over her career, she's won 88 per cent of all the games she's played.
Little did the world know that this feat was even more impressive than it first seemed—Serena won the title while nine weeks pregnant and never dropped a set. Now that's what we call a super mum.
2. When she intercepted a thief
Serena proved that she's a hero on and off the court when she chased down the man who tried to steal her mobile phone.
Captured on CCTV footage, the thief (who made a particularly poor choice of target) slips Serena's phone under his jacket before leaving the restaurant.
Quickly noticing what had happened, Serena chases him down before giving him a scolding and taking her phone back.
The tennis pro commented on the incident on her Facebook page, saying "When I got back into the restaurant I received a standing ovation. I was proud. I just showed every man in there I can stand up to bully's [sic] and other men. It was a win for the ladies! Just because you are a lady don't be afraid to step up to any challenge and not be a victim but a hero!"
3. When she had the flu… but won the French Open anyway
Serena Williams spent much of the 2015 French Open sniffling. Shaking all over with fever and spending time between matches in bed, she couldn't even take medication to relieve her symptoms for fear of failing a drugs test.
Leaning on her racket for support between play, coughing heavily into her towels, she was so physically exhausted that several times she considered withdrawing from the competition altogether.
Speaking to a reporter afterwards, she said, "I was crying so hard, I didn't want to win. I just wanted to go home". In true Serena style, she still managed to pull off a win.
4. When she returned to Indian Wells
In 2001, Serena Williams was due to play against her sister Venus in a hotly anticipated game at the Indian Wells Masters in California but Venus was forced to withdraw five minutes before play due to tendinitis in her knee.
Two days later, when Venus joined her father to watch Serena take on Kim Clijsters in the final, the crowd turned on her. They booed her presence, and turned their vitriol towards Serena too, cheering whenever she made a misstep.
In an essay she wrote for Time magazine, Serena made it clear that much of the vitriol she and her family received that day was racist in nature. It led her to boycott the masters for the next 17 years.
"The false allegations that our matches were fixed hurt, cut and ripped into us deeply. The undercurrent of racism was painful, confusing and unfair. In a game I loved with all my heart, at one of my most cherished tournaments, I suddenly felt unwelcome, alone and afraid.
It has been difficult for me to forget spending hours crying in the Indian Wells locker room after winning in 2001, driving back to Los Angeles feeling as if I had lost the biggest game ever—not a mere tennis game but a bigger fight for equality. Emotionally it seemed easier to stay away. There are some who say I should never go back. There are others who say I should’ve returned years ago. I understand both perspectives very well and wrestled with them for a long time. I’m just following my heart on this one."
In March 2018 she made the decision to return to the tournament, and her first entrance to the court was met with a standing ovation from the crowds: a moment that moved Serena to tears.
5. When she wore trainers for her wedding
It would be wrong to pen a list of Serena's best moments without mentioning her enviable fashion credentials. As well as owning her own line "Serena"—which debuted at New York Fashion Week with Anna Wintour and Drake sat on the front row—she's covered Vogue twice and her red carpet moments only get more spectacular with every year.
For her wedding to Reddit co-founder and venture capitalist Alexis Ohanin in 2017, comfort was this tennis pro's priority. Instead of the standard wedding fare, she opted to wear a pair of spectacularly Swarovski-encrusted Nike Cortes under her dazzling Alexander McQueen dress.
Image vis People
When interviewed by Vogue, the professional bedazzler behind the shoes, Michelle Meneses, said: “It took me literally 24 hours. She basically messaged me around midnight, and then I had this vision, and then I had the shoes at my front door."
“I worked [nonstop] until the FedEx cutoff.” A work ethic Serena herself must have been proud of!.