She may have more than 100,000 combined social media followers and be sitting courtside at the Australian Open, but Serena Williams' daughter's doll Qai Qai is doing it for more than just the 'gram. Following her Australian Open first-round win on Jan. 14, Williams explained that she bought 1-year-old Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr.'s "daughter & best friend" (as described in Qai Qai's Instagram bio) because the toy is representative of her identity — and is also something Williams wished she'd had when she was a little girl.
"Growing up, I didn't have that many opportunities to have black dolls, and I was just thinking, like, I want her first doll to be black," the tennis pro told reporters in Melbourne of her daughter with Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. "And her heritage, obviously she's mixed, she's Caucasian and black, but I feel like that was her first doll, and I said her second doll would be Caucasian. I definitely want to always teach her love and just basic human ... humans should always have love for each other, no matter what color they are."
And Olympia seems to be picking up that lesson well, as her mini pal, true to social media influencer form, has been by her side all over Australia. As seen in Qai Qai's viral Instagram photos, her vacation itinerary has included exploring Melbourne's sunsets and tourist sights (complete with an Australia's Dangerous Creatures For Dummies book) and some seriously VIP Australian Open action, both watching "grandma" Williams hit the court and getting to test out some of the official sideline equipment.
As for where Qai Qai got her unique moniker, Williams credited her nephew during the Australian Open press conference: "We were all sitting in our living room and we were running around names, and he said 'call her Qai Qai.' He actually is the magic behind the name."
Back on her own Instagram page, Williams made light of the fact that things had certainly changed since her last trip to the Australian Open. (You know, since she only won the whole tournament while 8-weeks pregnant in January 2017.) "Playing solo this time," she captioned the photo from her latest match, along with a wink emoji.
She echoed those sentiments to reporters, as seen in online videos of the interview, saying, "It was kind of weird walking back on -- by myself, this time."
Even fully back in action, free time is often spent, "spending a lot of time with my daughter," added Williams.
"I think that’s the priority for me. I feel like literally every moment I get I practice, and then I go home. It’s kind of what I do in Florida. I train and I go right home and I spend the rest of the day with my daughter . . . For now, as a working mom, I feel guilty and I understand that that’s normal, but — and these are years I’ll never get back. I just try to spend every moment that I can when I’m not working with her. And for me that’s super important.”
Clearly, Williams knows how to ace motherhood right along with tennis.