By now you have seen Serena Williams’ jaw dropping image on the cover of the Fall Fashion issue of New York Magazine.
Even before Serena flexed her curves for the camera, her athleticism was unquestionable. We’ve all bore witness to her powerful 125 mph serves that give her opponents whiplash. But to see Williams’ strong physique display such flexibility is beyond. And those abs. My God, those abs! At first glance, I thought she was totally giving Misty Copeland a run for her money, but then Misty Copeland’s Essence Magazine cover dropped and I said, nope. No one can ever outdo Misty Copeland. She stays on pointe. But still, for a tennis player, or anyone else for that matter, Serena’s cover pose is most certainly a do not try this at home stunt.
By far, Williams is currently the most dominant athlete on the planet, Sports Illustrated quotes her as having, “one of the most sustained careers of excellence in the history of athletics.” Sixteen years, and still in her prime. At her peak. But not because the window is closing. She’s at the peak because quite frankly, she’s taken residence at the top, remaining untouchable and out of reach of anyone for the majority of her phenomenal career.
For its Fall Fashion issue, New York Magazine caught up with the Queen of the Court in an unlikely environment, the set of the Home Shopping Network, or HSN for short. Williams, a regular, was on-air selling her apparel line, “Serena’s Signature Statement Collection.” While Williams’ tennis career is impossible to ignore, the focus of the article, “The Unretiring SERENA WILLIAMS: She’s eyeing a FASHIONABLE POST-COURT LIFE, but first she’s got tennis history to make,” highlighted Williams’ post-tennis plans. It’s an interesting topic, because again, Williams is at the top of her game; showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. However, one month away from celebrating her 34th birthday, the number one tennis player in the world, and arguably the best active athlete of any sport, isn’t too swept up in the present to prepare for her future.
With 16 years in the game, maintaining a mystique is difficult. And when you’re as fanatical about Williams as I am, you’re pressed to discover interesting tidbits of information to nibble on. Gratefully, the author, Kerry Howley, delivered. Here are 8 interesting quotes from Ms. Williams.
1. Serena is as surprised as most that her career has lasted as long as it has.
Her 16-year run is, in the words of Sports Illustrated, “one of the most sustained careers of excellence in the history of athletics.” “I didn’t think it would last this long,” says Serena, on break from the HSN grind. “Not to suggest that your career is over — “. “But even if it was over,” she interrupts, “it’s a really long career.”
2. Interesting. Most athletes play the game for the bling. The ring. The hardware. I’m convinced the reason Kobe Bryant’s returning for at least one more season is because he wants to win No. 6., like No. 23. But if you listen to Serena, a 66 WTA, 34 Grand Slam (21 singles, 13 doubles) title holder, to name a few, it seems that collecting trophies is not her greatest motivation. It’s so beyond being a priority that she’s misremembered where they’re displayed throughout her homes. And this is why her critics and competitors hate on her so much…lol.
“I have lots of trophies, and I’m just — I’m not that person that needs to see all these trophies,” she says, under a blanket in the greenroom with Chip on her lap. “I have some in my house here, some in my house there, some I don’t know what happened to ’em. I have my grand-slam trophies … somewhere.”
3. Serena’s talked about her relationship woes in the past, but who knew she wanted to be the next Vera Wang?!!
Serena wanted not just to design clothes but to design wedding dresses. “That was my first real love,” she says.
4. Serena takes her minority ownership with the Miami Dolphins seriously. The team tops her list of post-retirement priorities.
“I will finally be able to make some Miami Dolphin games,” she says, laughing, “and make some, uh, better decisions down there with the players.”
5. Nothing goes unrecognized by the GOAT, even during pre-match prep.
“My dad taught us to have early preparation. I notice the other girls have similar preparations to mine, and I’m like, ‘Hmmm … well, you don’t want to admit where you got that from, right?’ ”
6. Not necessarily learned information, but I still appreciated her reiterating her position on the double standard hurled her way following her 2009 US Open outburst…because #truth.
“I just think it was weird. I just really thought that was strange. You have people who made a career out of yelling at line judges. And a woman does it, and it’s like a big problem. But you know, hey.”
7. Serena’s maturation and experiences have allowed her to become more diplomatic in her approach to challenging “authority.”
“If someone has a bad call, I’m really forthcoming. I’ll look you in the eye and say, ‘Are you sure?’ I’m okay with confrontation. I’ve just” — eyebrow raise — “changed the way I state certain things.”
8. When asked about the impact her historic career has on impressionable women of color, her response was somewhat dismissive, yet enlightening due to her dropping a Nelson Mandela quote.
“I don’t think about it,” she says. “I don’t dwell in the past. If I do, I’ll be swallowed up by negativity. As Mandela once said, ‘I will be in a mental prison.’ ”
These are just a handful of quotes that stood out to me, but the entire article is definitely worth the read. Check it, and more pics, here.