Serena Williams, appearing on Monday’s edition of Ellen, opens up about how she’s guiding her four-year-old daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. to play tennis – but not too aggressively.
‘I love her so much,’ the 40-year-old tennis icon said of her child with Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, 39, after which she was asked by Ellen DeGeneres how Olympia is at tennis.
Olympia has shown potential, Williams said, but will need more work in honing her skills ‘if she wants to play tennis.’
She continued: ‘But I don’t push her, I don’t push her because she’s four … she’s alright, I’ve seen four-year-olds that might take her out’ on the court.
Williams said that Olympia’s ‘ambition is playing princess games, [as] she loves princess games and the more we can play anything with princesses, that’s her whole life.’
Williams told DeGeneres that she recently hired a tennis coach for Olympia, but did not reveal who she was to the coach.
‘This is such a funny story, because … I don’t have the patience to teach tennis, it’s so weird but I don’t really like to play with people who don’t know how to play tennis well – so it drives me nuts – so I was like, “I can’t I don’t have the patience for this,”‘ she said. ‘So I signed her up for a class, a private teacher, so she came in, I didn’t wanna tell her.’
Williams said that she revealed that on her Instagram account – which has more than 14.6 million followers – that she had signed up her daughter for a tennis class, and that the coach was one of her followers, and figured out that she was in the running for the job.
The Compton, California, native credited her father Richard Williams, 80, for his tutelage in making she and her sister Venus, 41, standouts in the sport, saying it makes him ‘so amazing because [she] couldn’t have done that.’
She said that the film King Richard – for which Will Smith won the Best Actor for playing the Williams patriarch – presented an accurate depiction of the effort and focus it takes to succeed in the sport.
‘It takes a lot of work and that’s what I really loved about the movie, is the fact that you know so much about us, just as players and holding up championships and holding up trophies, but there’s so much more that goes into that,’ she said. ‘It’s everyday, it’s hard work and so much dedication from my parents, both my mom and my dad.’
She said of King Richard: ‘The film was amazing, it was so cool to see the whole process come together, it took a really long time and got shut down for COVID and I was so proud of everyone and how everything came together and yeah, it was a wonderful moment, I think the film will live on for a really long time.’
Ellen added, ‘For sure it will, it’s a beautiful film and you should be proud of it.’