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By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Serena Williams

Serena Williams tells Vogue Magazine she wants to win 25 Grand Slam titles—and believes being a mom will help her achieve her major aims.

Photo credit: Mario Testino/Vogue

Serena Williams’ Melbourne miss has not diminished her major aspirations.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion says she “absolutely wants more Grand Slams” and is deteremined to capture 25 major champions to break Margaret Court’s all-time record ofr 24 Grand Slam singles titles.

Watch: Federer Ready For Launch

The reigning Australian Open champion, who gave birth to her first child, Alexis Olympia Ohanian on September 1st, poses with her daughter on the cover of the new Vogue Magazine shot by famed photographer Mario Testino—and declares her Grand Slam goals.

Read the Vogue cover story here.

“To be honest, there’s something really attractive about the idea of moving to San Francisco and just being a mom,” Williams told Vogue writer Rob Haskell. “But not yet. Maybe this goes without saying, but it needs to be said in a powerful way: I absolutely want more Grand Slams. I’m well aware of the record books, unfortunately. It’s not a secret that I have my sights on 25.”

Nineteen years after the Williams sisters squared off in their first professional meeting in Melbourne, the most successful sister act in sport staged another family reunion in the 2017 Australian Open final.

Commanding the center of the court, Serena hit her way into history defeating Venus, 6-4, 6-4, to claim her seventh Australian Open title and Open Era-record 23rd Grand Slam championship, breaking the mark she shared with Steffi Graf.

Williams has not played a Tour-level match since that historic win. She lost to Jelena Ostapenko in last month's Abu Dhabi exhibition and announced she wasn't ready to mount a Melbourne return. Instead, the former No. 1 has set her sights on a spring comeback.

The four-time Olympic gold-medal champion believes motherhood may well help her in her quest to become Grand Slam queen. Serena says she feels less stressed since the birth of her daughter.

“And actually, I think having a baby might help,” Williams told Vogue. “When I’m too anxious I lose matches, and I feel like a lot of that anxiety disappeared when Olympia was born. Knowing I’ve got this beautiful baby to go home to makes me feel like I don’t have to play another match. I don’t need the money or the titles or the prestige. I want them, but I don’t need them. That’s a different feeling for me.”

While Williams is currently ranked No. 23 and will fall further down the rankings after the Australian Open, she fully believes she will regain the top spot—and feel empowered being the hunter instead of the hunted in the rankings race.

“It’s interesting,” she muses. “There hasn’t been a clear number one since I was there. It will be cool to see if I get there again, to what I call my spot—where I feel I belong. I don’t play to be the second best or the third best. If there’s no clear number one, it’s like, yeah, I can get my spot back. But if there is a clear number one, that’s cool, too, because it’s like, yeah, I’m gonna come for you.”

Serena, who co-starred in Beyonce's 2016 video "Lemonade", rips through her own choreography   in this Vogue video to N.E.R.D's "Lemon" shot a the Palm Beach Airport.

Hall of Famer Billie Jean King, who worked with the Williams sisters when she captained the U.S. Fed Cup and Olympic teams, famously predicted in 2009 that Williams "would break every record" if she stayed healthy and motivated.

King, who received the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom award from then President Barrack Obama, has devoted her post-playing career to fighting for gender equality and social rights.

The Hall of Famer tells Vogue she's prepared to pass the torch as an agent of change to Serena, whom she believes can be a future force in politics though Williams was raised a Jehovah's Witness and has said in the past she does not vote because of her religious beliefs.

"I’ve been telling people that I think Serena, with her prowess and her platform, can do more than I ever dreamed of—not just for women or for people of color but for all people," King tells Vogue. "I’ve been trying to figure out who I’m going to pass the torch to. Serena’s speaking like a leader and talking about making a difference in the world. Personally I’d like to see her get into politics. Why not run for president? But first I’d like to see her break every record—to be the big kahuna."

Among the other revelations from the Vogue cover story:

*The 36-year-old Serena underwent an emergency C-section, Vogue reports. After giving birth several “small blood clots had settled in her lungs” and doctors found “that a large hematoma had flooded her abdomen.” Williams spent a week in the hospital and was bed-ridden for much of the first six weeks of motherhood. * Serena and friend Novak Djokovic “call their babies doubles partners since they were born a day apart.”

*Seeing the career finish line approaching has been a motivating force for Williams. "I’ve been playing tennis since before my memories started," she tells Vogue. "At my age, I see the finish line. And when you see the finish line, you don’t slow down. You speed up."

*While Williams calls Roger Federer the GOAT and says she refuses to retire before the Swiss, she admits envy for the father of two sets of twins. “It’s so unfair,” Williams told Vogue. “He produced four babies and barely missed a tournament. I can’t even imagine where I’d be with twins right now. Probably at the bottom of the pool.”

*Williams’ friends on the WTA Tour—Caroline Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber and Svetlana Kuznetsova—have all told her she’s missed on the Tour.

*Husband Alexis Ohanian bought a drone, which he uses to videotape Serena’s practice sessions, which are often staged on her neighbor's pristine red clay court.

*Serena says she no longer looks sister Venus in the eye when the play because her older sister’s sad expression “breaks my heart.”

“I hate playing her because she gets this look on her face where she just looks sad if she’s losing,” Serena told Vogue. “Solemn. It breaks my heart. So when I play her now, I absolutely don’t look at her, because if she gets that look, then I’ll start feeling bad, and the next thing you know I’ll be losing. I think that’s when the turning point came in our rivalry, when I stopped looking at her.”

*Williams wants to have more children and while she believes she would be a “terrible” tennis coach, she’d like to mentor younger players someday and says she's a fan of Daria Kasatkina.


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