Serena Williams’ Secret: A Life of a Tennis Coach

How Serena Williams rewrote the playbook for female athletes juggling motherhood and sport, from the Olympics to the business of being a sports star

Serena Williams, who has a six-year-old girl, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, calls her daughter’s mother-in-law a “wonderful woman.”

Serena Williams Published October 09, 2013 BY Abigail P. Taylor

Serena Williams is the rare woman who juggles motherhood and a successful sport. Her success — four world team titles, seven U.S. Open titles, 27 Grand Slam titles, 11 Olympic golds, and more than $35 million in career earnings — has turned her into the most successful athlete of all time, as well as the highest paid female athlete in history. But when she was pregnant with her daughters, she was already taking on the most important role in her life: caring for her children by teaching them tennis.

Williams’ most recent book, The Secret, is a compilation of her life as a mother, a coach, and an athlete. A candid look inside her professional and personal life, the book chronicles her career that has seen her rise from a small town in Indiana to the top tier of the world’s highest-paid athletes.

“One of the most difficult things for her to do is she is doing things she loves,” said her mother, Barbara Williams. “You have to have a very disciplined mind-set [in a relationship].

“As soon as they get over 12 years old, they are thinking that they are the most important person in the family and [they do] what they are told. They love the attention. She is in the role she loves to be in.”

The book begins when Williams was a teenager. As a child, Williams’ mother had a love of books. At home, her mother passed the books on from one generation to the next and kept a scrapbook on family members. One day, Williams says her mother decided to pass the scrapbook to her.

“I was very excited about it because it was something that me and my mother had done together,” Williams said. “I was probably 12 years old and I had this book in my hands and I was so excited to show it to my mom. And she looked at it and told me that I needed to pass it along to my mother because everything in the book was from her.”

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