To stamp out any lingering speculation as to whether Serena Williams' record-breaking career will take a backseat to her newfound motherhood, the superstar tennis player has made herself perfectly clear: she wants more Grand Slams. In an interview for Vogue, Serena Williams confirmed that she's still got her eye on the prize. And, of course she does.
In a conversation with Vogue reporter Rob Haskell just two months after weathering a harrowing sequence of post-delivery medical complications, the 36-year-old tennis champ set the record straight about her professional aspirations moving forward, especially in light of her 9-month absence from the courts.
"To be honest, there's something really attractive about the idea of moving to San Francisco and just being a mom," Williams told Vogue for its February issue. Alexis Ohanian, Williams' husband — as of Nov. 16, officially — cofounded Reddit, and the company's headquarters are based in San Francisco. Williams told Vogue during the interview that she and Ohanian had just recently found a house in Silicon Valley.
Her simpler-life musings didn't last long, though. Williams quickly trailed her initial statement with a sort of caveat — a clarification, but perhaps also a not-so-gentle warning to those who spent the latter half of 2017 questioning whether she would return to tennis post-pregnancy:
"But not yet. 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. It's not a secret that I have my sights on 25."
The "25" in question refers to Grand Slam victories, of which Williams has already won a lofty 23. (She snagged her 23rd Grand Slam singles title in January 2017, after a searing final match against superstar tennis-playing sister, Venus, during last year's Australian Open). The Grand Slam world record currently sits at 24 wins and is held by retired Australian tennis champion, Margaret Court. But Williams — who, as of January 2017, now holds the number two spot on the roster of Grand Slam record-breakers — is gunning to surpass it.
"I've been playing tennis since before my memories started," Williams told Vogue. "At my age, I see the finish line. And when you see the finish line, you don't slow down. You speed up."
And (perhaps contrary to the buzz of garden variety doubts about whether a woman can, or will be able to, continue pursuing her personal dreams after becoming a mom) Williams told Vogue that she thinks baby Alexis is exactly the kind of soothing, unconditional love repository she needs to finally break that record.
"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. Knowing I've got this beautiful baby to go home to makes me feel like I don't have to play another match," Williams said. "I don't need the money or the titles or the prestige. I want them, but I don't need them. That's a different feeling for me."
And, judging by Williams' absurdly swift return to the tennis courts (she took on reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko during the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi this past December, an exhibition match which she ultimately lost — though not by much), it looks like baby Alexis might be working her magic. Of course, the tough-as-nails tennis pro has also been putting in her fair share of work. As Vogue notes, less than one week after she'd endeavored to walk the length of one neighborhood block for the first time since returning home from her extended, post-delivery hospital stay, she had already resumed practice. (Fortuitously, her neighbor has a private, red-clay tennis court in their backyard, which Williams is free to use.)
Because, as an unbelievably gifted and famously hard-working athlete, but also as a woman, Williams refuses to limit herself. And she hopes to teach her daughter to do the same.
"I think sometimes women limit themselves," she told Vogue. "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. I'm so glad I had a daughter. I want to teach her that there are no limits."
If William's perennial status as pro tennis' reigning comeback queen is any indication of her parenting chops, there might not be a woman better suited to instill in her daughter the firsthand tenants of "the sky's the limit."