Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr, daughter of the greatest of all time, won her first Australian Open a year ago. Twelve months later, she’s on the cover of VOGUE, in her ma’s arms, with one fist raised as if to declare I AM HERE. As if she had to. We know!
Serena Williams, mother of Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr, is the on the cover of VOGUE for the third time, although she’s appeared in the magazine more times than that, and most recently in the September 125 anniversary issue, just before the birth of her baby boss. VOGUE is pretty particular about when and how often someone gets to be in the magazine. There are exceptions though. And if there ever was someone exceptional…
God I love her so much and I love this article so f-cking much. I love how honest Serena is about her parenting experience so far. I love how her own mother, Oracene, steps in to talk about how people are too soft on their kids now, and that she’s around for the discipline. I don’t love what happened to Serena immediately after Olympia was born (basically her body broke down and it was a serious medical crisis, which is why she won’t be returning to tennis until March) but I do love that she pretty much told the doctors what to do and how to go about doing it. Of course I love how honest Serena is about her ambition, about how she has no time for any ranking other than #1 tennis – “my spot” is what she calls it. Because in her mind that’s the only place she belongs. And I love how obviously popular Serena is within the tennis community, among all the players, on the men’s side and the women’s side. You know why I’m mentioning this? I’m petty, that’s why. But not as petty as that asshole Maria Sharapova, who suggested in her book that big bad Serena is a bully who bullied a meek skinny blonde girl from Russia, the same girl who ended up getting suspended from the sport for doping. Well, guess who’s not at all well-liked on the tour? Guess who doesn’t have all kinds of friends on the tour? Carolina Wozniacki, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Angelique Kerber, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Stan Wawrinka don’t get namechecked in profiles about Maria Sharapova (seriously, F*CK MARIA SHARAPOVA) as her friends. But they do for Serena. Even though, in the case of the female players, Serena kicks their ass on the court all the time. These are women who constantly compete with each other. That competition makes them better. And it also makes them better friends.
This is what I love too. The spirit of competition that hovers over this entire article. Healthy and productive competition, between women, even between sisters. Here’s what Serena says about competing against Venus:
“I know that her career might have been different if she had had my health. I know how hard she works. I hate playing her because she gets this look on her face where she just looks sad if she’s losing. Solemn. It breaks my heart. So when I play her now, I absolutely don’t look at her, because if she gets that look, then I’ll start feeling bad, and the next thing you know I’ll be losing. I think that’s when the turning point came in our rivalry, when I stopped looking at her.”
This is the quote I’m going to pull out of my phone the next time someone tries to tell me that women shouldn’t compete against one other. Serena Williams stopped looking at her sister’s “sad face” (which totally sounds like a big sister strategic move) so that she could beat her – and I’m pretty sure Venus wouldn’t have it any other way. And yet, here they are, sharing the microphone in VOGUE wearing matching onesies.
Kathleen probably just burst into tears looking at that photo. And I bet you she’s just made it her wallpaper. As she would say, give Serena Williams all the wall space.
It’s only January and Serena Williams has given us what will be one of the best interviews of the year. It’s only January and Serena will be back in two months. I can’t wait to find out what the rest of Serena’s year will look like.
“I’ve been playing tennis since before my memories started,” she says. “At my age, I see the finish line. And when you see the finish line, you don’t slow down. You speed up.”
Please, you have to, click here to read the full article at VOGUE. And to look at all the amazing photos.