Serena Williams began her final U.S. Open with a bang. The champion tennis player beat her opponent, Danka Kovinić, with her husband, Alexis Ohanian Sr., and daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., cheering from the stands. In fact, Alexis Olympia celebrated her mom in more ways than one on Monday (Aug. 29).
The youngster wore her hair in braids with white beads at the end as a way of paying tribute to Serena Williams’ hairstyle when she won her first U.S. Open in 1998. “It was either her wear beads or me, so,” Serena said after winning her match. “She likes, actually, wearing them,” Williams shared. “She asks to wear beads a lot.”
Many remember Serena and her sister Venus Williams’ iconic beads on the tennis court. Some criticized the girls’ style while others celebrated the diversity Serena and Venus brought to the sport. The sisters did not stop at wearing beads but rather found other ways to revolutionize the sport. Serena, in particular, brought a different essence of fashion that has been both edgy and gracious.
“I’m ready for the transition,” Serena told TIME when discussing her decision to retire from the game after the U.S. Open. “Olympia doesn’t like when I play tennis,” she revealed. “That kind of makes me sad,” Williams added. “And brings anxiety to my heart,” she further explained. “It’s hard to completely commit when your flesh and blood is saying, Aw.”
Serena Williams announced her plans to retire from tennis a few weeks ago. The star athlete told her supporters that she desired to give her daughter a sibling but did not want to play tennis professionally while pregnant as she did five years ago.
“I definitely don’t want to be pregnant again as an athlete,” Serena shared. “I need to be two feet into tennis or two feet out,” she concluded.
Serena Williams faces Anett Kontaveit in the women’s singles at the U.S. Open on Wednesday (Sep. 1).
Photo: Getty Images