Serena Williams: ‘I feel like everything I do has to be great & has to be perfect’
16th December 2018

Just days after Christmas, Serena Williams will be flying down to Australia to play the Hopman Cup and the Australian Open. I have high hopes for her at both tournaments (Hopman is more of an exhibition, but still). I feel strongly that Serena will get her 24th Slam title in the coming year. I feel that way because… Serena won’t stop until she gets #24 AND #25. She wants to be the all-time Slam leader. Will #24 come in Australia? Or Paris? Or Wimbledon? I don’t know, pick one. Because she’s going to win one of them (New York can eat it). In any case, to promote her upcoming season and to just talk about being an icon of womanhood, Serena sat down with Teen Vogue for a cover story. It’s a good read – you can see the full piece here. Some highlights:

How she juggles so much, with tennis, motherhood & all her side projects: “Honestly, I don’t know. I go to bed every night thinking, How did I get through this day? I’m sure a lot of people out there can relate, right? It’s like, this day is over, it’s 10 o’clock, I got through it. How did that happen? That’s kind of how I am. Between… I just started training. Yes, I’m still playing. So, that has been… OK, now I’m training on top of running this fashion company, on top of being a full-time mom. I’m super hands-on as a mom. I just take it as it is and realize that everyone goes through the same thing.

How to be confident, even when you’re not really feeling it: “I think it’s really important to realize that no day is going to be perfect. For me, that’s really hard because I strive for perfection, and I feel like everything I do has to be great and has to be perfect, because I am a true perfectionist. But that’s impossible. That’s not reasonable. Then I realize that, OK, I had a rough day today, let’s do something to make it better tomorrow. I think it’s important to expect to have some really rough times when you’re going through something, but always know that you can overcome it.

Elevating women of color: “…It’s just about having the conversation and starting. If you are just reading about it or maybe not knowing about it, then you can’t make a change. It’s definitely important to have that conversation, and then encourage people to support each other. Especially as women of color. We really have to support each other. I always like to say that women really should support each other, because the success of one woman should be the inspiration to the next. If we look at it that way, there would be so much more that we can accomplish.

[From Teen Vogue]

One of the most moving moments of Serena’s HBO docuseries was when she went to France to train at Patrick Mouratoglou’s academy, and she was working so hard to “get back” and it still wasn’t enough. Patrick sat her down and told her, flat-out, that she needed to stop breastfeeding and Serena basically had an emotional breakdown. She thought she could do it all, she thought she could nurse Olympia and lose the weight and train hard and be a wife and when she couldn’t do it all, it was like she ran into a brick wall. My point? She knows this intellectually – “I strive for perfection, and I feel like everything I do has to be great and has to be perfect, because I am a true perfectionist. But that’s impossible. That’s not reasonable” – but in practice, in real life, it’s something else for her. Anyway, I just love her. I hope she plays forever. Also: I totally believe that she AND Venus will play the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

Cover courtesy of Teen Vogue, additional photo courtesy of Avalon Red.

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