35-year-old Tennis star, Serena Williams, who is also pregnant with her first baby stripped down for Vanity Fair in a very risque shoot by longtime collaborator Annie Leibovitz, who first shot Williams, alongside her sister Venus, when she was 16 years old.
Serena also talked about how surprise she was to find out that she’s pregnant, barely a week before the beginning of the Australian Open in January this year, in a telling interview with contributing editor Buzz Bissinger.
According to her, she relented and allowed her friend Jessica Steindorff, who suspected it was not merely her hormones acting up, buy her a pregnancy kit.
‘I’ll take it just because (a) to prove you wrong and (b) because it’s fun, whatever. It’s like a joke. Why not?’
After taking the test, she forgot about it, thinking it impossible that it could be positive. When she finally checked the results, she says she ‘did a double take and my heart dropped. Like literally it dropped.’
Her first thought:
‘Oh my God, this can’t be—I’ve got to play a tournament. How am I going to play the Australian Open? I had planned on winning Wimbledon (her third straight) this year.’
To further convince her of the reality, Jessica purchased five more test kits; all proved positive. After discovering she was pregnant, Serena called her boyfriend Ohanian and, without providing a reason, told him to fly to Melbourne earlier than previously planned.
Ohanian, thinking it was likely health-related, immediately got a flight out of San Francisco.
When Serena saw him, she wordlessly handed him a paper bag containing the six positive pregnant tests: Ohanian was as shocked as she had been.
Now, a little more than six months pregnant, she is facing the reality that she is indeed having a baby with her soon-to-be husband.
‘It just doesn’t seem real. I don’t know why. Am I having a baby?’ she says.
Williams tells Bissinger that, as of May, she hadn’t made any preparations:
‘I don’t know what to do with a baby.
‘I have nothing … I’ve done absolutely nothing for the baby room.’
Meanwhile, Bissinger writes that Ohanian is ‘earnestly preparing and already has a tip jar he puts money into whenever he uses profanity so he won’t utter it around the baby.’
The couple first met at the Cavalieri Hotel in Rome in May 2015 where, after Ohanian sat at the table beside hers, Serena pretended to know about Reddit, and he withheld the fact that he had ‘never watched a tennis match on television or in real life’.He’s looking forward to the marriage; Williams, on the other hand, tells Bissinger (with tongue in cheek), ‘I’m trying to enjoy the little freedom I have left.’
Their first date saw the ultra-romantic pair roam the streets of Paris for six hours while Serena was in town for the French Open. Ohanian proposed to Serena in December 2016 at virtually the same spot where he had first met her.
On Ohanian’s proposal at the Cavalieri, for which he had asked her to fly to Italy under the guise of a spontaneous trip, Serena says,
‘I knew it was coming. I was like, “Serena, you’re 35, you’re ready. This is what you want.”‘
Ohanian says he knew he wanted to marry Serena because she was helping him become the best version of himself: ‘I felt like a door had been opened to a person who made me want to be my best self,’ he says. ‘I find myself just wanting to be better by simply being around her because of the standard she holds.’