Serena Williams is having quite a year. She won the Australian Open in January. In April, she announced that she was pregnant with her first child with fiancé Alexis Ohanian. The timing meant that she was around eight weeks pregnant when she won the Australian tournament. She won Sportswoman of the Year at the BET Awards. Now, she graces the cover of Vanity Fair with a stunning nude and she’s responded to a slight from a tennis legend with nothing but class.
The Vanity Fair cover story about Serena gives an in-depth look at the star and her life, especially about her relationship with Ohanian and her feelings about becoming a mom. There are a number of additional photos of Serena by master photographer Annie Leibovitz, showcasing the beauty of a pregnant body. There are also some pictures that capture the love between Williams and Ohanian.
John McEnroe is considered one of the greatest tennis players to have ever played the game. The tennis legend has praised Serena many times over the years and calls her the “best female player in the world” in his book. While promoting his upcoming memoir on NPR, a host brought this up. When the host wondered if adding the female qualifier was necessary, McEnroe countered that “if she played the men’s circuit, she’d be, like, 700 in the world.” Naturally, Serena’s fans weren’t too happy with this. But Serena herself responded with grace, first tweeting, “Dear John, I adore and respect you but please please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based.” She then followed with a second tweet, saying, “I’ve never played anyone ranked ‘there’ nor do I have time. Respect me and my privacy as I’m trying to have a baby. Good day sir.”
McEnroe’s comments don’t diminish that Serena is “unquestionably the most dominant tennis player of all time,” as Vox puts it. With 23 grand slam wins, Olympic medals, and $84 million in prize money earned throughout her career, there’s no question Serena Williams has earned her number one ranking. That she won a grand slam tournament while pregnant only adds to the fierceness of this incredible athlete. McEnroe has refused to apologize for his comments, though he has reiterated that he thinks very highly of Williams and her abilities as an athlete.
Her baby is due in September and Serena says she will return to the court as soon as January. In the Vanity Fair piece, she says, “I don’t think my story is over yet.”