Serena Williams is gearing up to marry Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, but their engagement wasn’t something Williams always saw happening.
“I never felt pressure to get married, and I can’t say I’m the marrying type,” she said Tuesday, April 25, at Ted 2017. “I love my life. I love my freedom. I hear that kind of changes. I love my career, and I didn’t want anything to interfere with that. … When [Ohanian] proposed, I was almost angry. Not almost — I was angry because it was right in the middle of my training season and I thought, ‘I have to win the Australian Open.’ … I really wanted to pass Steffi Graf’s record.”
Not only did Williams clinch her 23rd Grand Slam title in the January competition to pass Graf. she was expecting at the time, as many were quick to point out once she accidentally announced her pregnancy in April.
“I was nervous,” Williams, who found out she was pregnant with the couple’s first child two weeks before the Australian Open, said. “I wasn’t sure what to do. Can I play? I know it’s very dangerous in the first 12 weeks or so, so I had a lot of questions.”
But, Williams decided to push any doubts aside.
“I knew that at that moment, it was important for me to just focus,” she said. “I had to take all that energy and put it in a paper bag and throw it away. I really felt like I didn’t have time to deal with any extra emotions — any extra anything. Pregnant or not, no one knew. Every tournament where I show up, I’m expected to win. If I don’t win, it’s actually bigger news.”
The 35-year-old has faced questions about if she’ll return to tennis after giving birth this fall and Williams has made it clear she expects her child to be in the players’ box cheering her on, which she previously noted in an open letter to her unborn baby.
“I definitely plan on coming back — I’m not done yet. My story isn’t over,” she said. “I’m really inspired by my sister [Venus], who’s a year older than me. If she’s still playing, then I know I can play. This is just a new part of my life. My baby is going to be in the stands, hopefully cheering for me and not crying too much.”