Serena Williams has always made it look effortless. The 36-year-old athlete has convinced sports fans (and some haters) that there isn’t anything she can’t do. As one of the world’s best, it was no surprise when Williams took home her 23rd Grand Slam singles title at the 2017 Australian Open. Trumping big sister Venus with a 6-4, 6-4 victory, the win was made even sweeter when it was discovered months later she was eight weeks pregnant.
Managing her pregnancy, enduring a medical scare following the birth of her daughter, planning a wedding to then fiancé Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and more are all explored in HBO Sports’ new five-part series Being Serena. Serena’s lust for excellence on the court is transferred over in the months leading up her daughter’s birth. Filmed primarily in Williams and Ohanian’s Florida home, the tennis titan speaks into a camera, in essence directly to viewers, about her fears surrounding childbirth.
And it was at this moment while expressing her trepidation that Williams proved she’s just like us. Airing on HBO tonight (May 2) at 10 PM ET/PT, the force Williams demonstrates on the court dissipates as viewers see her and Alexis prepare their daughter’s nursery, go on doctor’s visits and express their deep respect and love for one another.
The plan was to have a vaginal birth, but after hours of contractions the couple decided on a C-Section, which then launched six days worth of medical issues keeping Williams in the hospital, and almost causing her death.
The stitches from her C-section busted open, caused by a coughing fit by way of her pulmonary embolism. When she returned to surgery, doctors found a large hematoma rivered into her abdomen. She then had to have a filter inserted into a major vein to prevent blood clots from taxing into her lungs. The entire ordeal left her unable to be as hands on with her newborn for the first six weeks.
Yet, even in the hospital Williams’ champion spirit was still on display. When asked by Alexis if their daughter would win Wimbledon in 15 years, Serena’s response was very, well, Serena.
“Not if I’m on tour,” she said boldly.
Being Serena, the five part series, starts tonight at 10 PM ET/PT on HBO.