For Serena Williams, she’s still trying to master the balance of motherhood and being a tennis icon. One thing she said she struggles with since becoming a mother to her daughter, four-year-old Olympia, is finding time for herself and not feeling bad about it.
“Mom guilt is real. I always feel so guilty when I’m doing something on my own,” she told Insider. “I don’t know if I’m a good mom, and I don’t know if my method works, but I’m very hands-on with my daughter, and it was the same with our parents. So I’ve set really good boundaries, but then after work, I’m going right to my daughter. And that’s amazing and good, but now it’s like, ‘Okay, what happens to Serena?’”
During her career, Williams has endured plenty, including racism, sexism and misogyny, but it hasn’t affected her grit. She even took a step away from the tennis court and entered the venture capital firm world and launched Serena Ventures, which has raised $111 million. Her endeavors in fashion, investing, books and tennis have been met with doubt, but the naysayers end up being her motivation.
“Whether it’s venture people saying that I shouldn’t be doing it, or it’s tennis when people said I’ll never be good at it, I do think there’s a part of me that always will enjoy proving people wrong,” she said. “And sometimes you just need something to feed the fire, right? I’m like, ‘Oh that’s what I needed to hear. You’re going to regret what you just said.’ But that’s me, and growing up behind Venus, I had to have that personality.”
Throughout these highs and lows of motherhood and her iconic career, the Compton native has always been able to rely on her sister, Venus and Isha Price, and Ciara, whom she’s been friends with for years.
“I think the key to our friendship is the fact that when we get together it’s not about what we do in our professional lives — it’s about being free to experience our authentic selves with each other,” Ciara said about her close bond with the 22-time Grand Slam champion. “The world gets to see her passion for tennis when she’s on the court, but behind the scenes she carries that same passion and enthusiasm.”
Isha Price, who is her older sister, is also a key member of her tribe. She told Insider that she knows her baby sister so well that she can tell what’s wrong just by her voice, an indicator of their solid connection.
She’ll call and be like, ‘Hey, how are you doing?’ And just by her voice I can tell there’s a struggle there, or joy there. Just to be present and appreciate that moment with her, good or bad, is important,” Price said. “That validation is oftentimes necessary because it doesn’t come from anywhere else. The expectation that everyone puts on Black and phenomenal women, on us, is a lot to bear, and sometimes you don’t even recognize that you’re carrying it. Because you just walk around with this weight all the time.”
Since her father, Richard Williams, has his own biopic, King Richard, Williams touched whether she would ever go forth with one of her own. She didn’t sound too comfortable with the idea of it.
“I had a rough journey,” she said. “I didn’t do well and then I did. It’s a lot of drama. It’s a telenovela.”