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By Adrianna Outlaw | Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Serena Williams

"Obviously, if I have a chance to go out there and catch up with Margaret (Court), I am not going to pass that up. If anything, this pregnancy has given me a new power,” Serena Williams told Vogue.

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve

Serena Williams shared her “most outrageous plan” to try to defend her Australian Open title in January.

Serena, who is pregnant and due to give birth to her first child in the coming weeks, has given herself two options ahead of her planned 2018 comeback: Win or win.

More: Sharapova Awarded US Open Wild Card

In an expansive interview with writer Rob Haskell in the new issue of Vogue Magazine, the 35-year-old Williams vowed she will retain her status as a champion in her planned comeback. 

“It’s the most outrageous plan,” Williams told Vogue. “I just want to put that out there. That’s, like, three months after I give birth. I’m not walking anything back, but I’m just saying it’s pretty intense.”

“In this game you can go dark fast. If I lose, and I lose again, it’s like, she’s done. Especially since I’m not 20 years old. I’ll tell you this much: I won’t win less. Either I win, or I don’t play.”

Williams, who was pregnant when she defeated older sister Venus to capture her Open Era-record 23rd Grand Slam championship in Melbourne this year, rarely discusses her tennis goals.

However, the former No. 1 is taking aim at breaking Margaret Court's all-time Grand Slam singles record of 24 career majors. 

"I used to think I’d want to retire when I have kids, but no. I’m definitely coming back," Williams told Vogue. "Walking out there and hearing the crowd, it may seem like nothing. But there’s no better feeling in the world.

"Obviously, if I have a chance to go out there and catch up with Margaret, I am not going to pass that up. If anything, this pregnancy has given me a new power."

There are the top revelations from Williams' Vogue interview.

On why she believes she will give birth to a baby girl: 

"(FiancĂ©) Alexis (Ohanian) thinks we’re having a boy, but I have a strong suspicion that it’s a girl. Two weeks after we found out, I played the Australian Open. I told Alexis it has to be a girl because there I was playing in 100-degree weather, and that baby never gave me any trouble. Ride or die. Women are tough that way."

On people interpreting her intensity as anger and why some perceive Maria Sharapova as a nicer person:

“I feel like people think I’m mean. Really tough and really mean and really street. I believe that the other girls in the locker room will say, ‘Serena’s really nice.’ But Maria Sharapova, who might not talk to anybody, might be perceived by the public as nicer. Why is that? Because I’m black and so I look mean? That’s the society we live in. That’s life. They say African-Americans have to be twice as good, especially women. I’m perfectly OK with having to be twice as good.”

On Hall of Famer Ilie Nastase’s racist remark about her unborn child—“Let's see what color it has. Chocolate with milk?"— Serena said:

“I’m like, dude, are you serious? Classless. Don’t come for me, and don’t come for my baby. And then the drug rant! I’m tested all the time. I’m not putting poison in this body. If I can’t beat you, I’m not going to cheat to win. End of story.”

On her “love-hate relationship” with power and being typecast as a power player:

“I think I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the idea of power. In the beginning I didn’t like it when they said that my sister and I were power players. I thought, I don’t hit as hard as a Monica Seles.”

In Australia last year, I read that Maria Sharapova’s backhand and forehand are as good or better than mine, and that the only reason I win is that my serve is bigger. I was like, wait a minute, please. I place my serve. And what about my volleys? My speed? I’m the player who’s hitting angles. I’m the player who moves you. I use my brain, and that’s really why I win.

"Not only me, but women in general sometimes feel that power is a bad word. As I’ve gotten older I’ve started to feel differently about it. Power is beauty. Strength is beauty.So now on the court I want people to think that I’m powerful. But I also want them to be shocked at how I play. I want people to expect something, then get something different.”

On Hall of Famer John McEnroe’s claim to NPR Serena would be ranked “like 700 in the world” if she played on the ATP Tour:

“Why the fixation on me playing dudes? It’s clear that men are stronger than women, and that’s just science. I’m very content to play on the women’s tour. John’s unapologetic, he says what he thinks, and people respect that about him. God forbid I do it, though.”

On why she moved across the street from older sister and long-time Palm Beach Gardens, Florida housemate Venus:

“I was like, ‘I’m 35, Venus. We have got to live apart.’ ”

On sustaining her professional relationship with coach Patrick Mouratoglou after their romance ended:

“Once we got over that little hump of weirdness, it was fine. Fortunately I’m really good friends with most everyone I’ve ever dated. I don’t like bad blood.”

On how she hopes motherhood will make her a calmer competitor:

“I think people do love when I get angry—that’s when the crowd cheers the hardest. But now I’m like, OK, I’m going to be a mom next time I play. I need to not make the baby faces anymore.”


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