Serena Williams needs little introduction. She’s the greatest female tennis player in the world, the winner of 39 Grand Slam titles, 23 in singles and an inspiring icon for women both inside and outside the world of sport.
She’s also a style maven, as her collaboration with luxury Swiss watch brand Audemars Piguet testifies. Williams is the face of the Diamond Outrage, the latest and last in a trilogy of exceptional spiked, diamond-set secret watches unveiled by the brand over three years. And she sure knows how to rock it.
We had a chat with Williams about becoming a mother and life after tennis.
How does it feel to be the best at what you do?
I’ve always wanted to be an athlete. What drives me daily is my love for what I do. I wake up and I want to be the greatest player. Awards do mean a lot as it is nice to be recognised for the work you’ve done, for everything you’ve achieved, but I don’t like to just look back at victories. My objective is to keep winning. I need to focus on that instead of looking at what I have accomplished so far.
What character traits are most important to you?
Mental strength and determination. Whether you’re on or off the court, you have to feed both, work on them constantly. At the end of the day, it’s what’s going to make the difference between athletes.
Do you have a number of Grand Slams you want to reach before you retire?
Having won different titles, there is less pressure to achieve anything specific at the moment. I’ve won every Grand Slam, the Olympics. I can play for fun now.
What’s the most important lesson you’d like to teach your child?
That you can do anything if you believe in it.
Is tennis going to take a back seat once you become a parent?
No, I’m looking forward to becoming a mum while remaining a performing athlete. I’m definitely thinking of coming back to the courts already.
What would you like to focus on in life after tennis?
I have asked myself that question, but I don’t envisage stopping for now. There are quite a few things for me to do still and I’m definitely not done with the tennis world, although if you ask me exactly how I picture the next 10 years, I’m not entirely sure yet. I’ve spent most of my life in the sport, so I probably won’t keep doing it for another 20 years. Let’s just say I’m not putting a cap on it.
What about living with Venus now is different from when you were girls?
We have both evolved. One of the latest memories I have with Venus is at the last Australian Open. Playing against my sister, breaking the record against her and have her do so well as well, it was just like old times. We were reminiscing, and it was really amazing in that sense.
"What drives me daily is my love for what I do. I wake up and I want to be the greatest player."
How would you describe your style?
Fun! That’s why I enjoyed doing the Diamond Outrage shoot. I hadn’t really done anything like that before. The watch is super contemporary, and I feel [fashion photographer] Tom Munro was able to capture my fun side—the real me. When I’m on the court, people only see my serious persona, so it was great to be able to showcase my normal off-the-court self [with this campaign].
What do you look for in a watch?
I like pieces that are strong and have character. Some people have asked me if I consider my watches lucky charms when I play. I have won many times with a watch on my wrist, so, yes, I guess they have become some sort of a lucky charm.
What do you like the most about the Diamond Outrage?
So many things. It’s beautiful. Powerful. Strong. Different. Unique. It has many facets, including mystery, as the actual watch is hidden on the inside. Audemars Piguet was able to reach a new level with this piece, and that really spoke to me. I actually want to congratulate the watchmakers and jewellers who made the watch. They should be proud. The result is beyond anything I’ve ever seen and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world every time I wear it.
Why did you decide to work with Audemars Piguet?
I am inspired by people who take pride in their work and Audemars Piguet’s watchmakers certainly do. We first met at Art Basel in Miami Beach a couple of years ago. I already knew the brand and it was great to be able to discover more of it at the fair, meeting the watchmakers and understanding where they come from, the brand values, and the hard work they put into creating their pieces.
From then on it was just a natural conversation with the team, especially with Francois-Henry [Bennahmias], who’s the CEO and a former athlete. We definitely have some common ground as we are both sportspeople and business people at the same time.
Feeling inspired? Here are more habits of top athtletes to emulate.