Serena Williams has revealed that it was her daughter, Olympia, who helped spur her on ahead of her final ever tournament at the US Open.
Williams reached the third round at Flushing Meadows, before losing to Ajla Tomljanovic in her final ever professional singles match.
Nonetheless, the 41-year-old performed admirably in New York –– especially considering the heavy defeats she’d suffered prior to the competition.
What did Williams’ daughter say?
Having announced her intention to “evolve away” from tennis in August, Williams’ farewell tour did not start well.
Yet, regardless of the result, Olympia was still her mother’s biggest fan. “Apparently, she was saying like, ‘Go, Momma, I’m so proud of you,’ and I was like, ‘What?’”, Williams said on the Drew Barrymore show.
Williams added: “After I had lost in Cincinnati, she came back and she’s like, ‘It’s okay, Momma, you just have to do what you feel,’ and I literally wanted to cry. It was like, ‘Do what you feel. Do what your heart tells you.’ It was the sweetest thing ever.”
Why was Olympia not in New York?
Though her daughter is her biggest fan, Williams chose not to bring Olympia on her farewell tour, because she was worried about being distracted.
“I was just worried I’d get distracted because I would be like, ‘Wait is she drinking? Is she doing this?’ She came to a match once, like super brief, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, is she wearing sun cream?’ It’s nuts.
“I would get stressed out and be like, ‘Wait a minute, oh my goodness I’ve got to serve. This makes no sense. So yeah, I’ve never really had her at matches until this summer actually.”
Will Williams return to tennis?
Williams won a staggering 23 Grand Slam singles titles but retired just one short of Margaret Court’s all-time record.
It was a milestone the American had so desperately wanted to reach for more than five years and one that provided countless moments of heartbreak.
Indeed, after winning her 23rd major at the 2017 Australian Open, Williams lost her next four Slam finals –– the last of which came at Wimbledon in 2019.
However, despite failing to match Court’s record, there’s no doubt that Williams is serious about her retirement for now.
Speaking on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, she stated: “There are so many things that I’ve been wanting to do for so many years and I’ve had such a passion for tennis for so long that I’ve never done them.
“Now it’s time for me to start to enjoy those things.”
That being said, she appeared to leave the door for a comeback slightly open –– hinting at a Tom Brady-style return to tennis.
“Tom Brady started an amazing trend. That’s what I want to say,” she said.