On Monday, Sports Illustrated revealed Serena Williams as SI’s Sportsperson of the Year for 2015. Fans are familiar with Serena’s rise from teenage sensation to arguably the greatest women’s tennis player of all-time, but Serena’s life off the court is just as interesting as her success on the court.
Here are a few things you probably didn’t know about Serena Williams, all detailed by S.L. Price in his cover story about the 21–time Grand Slam champion.
Serena has become good friends with Sheryl Sandberg: The tennis champion and Facebook executive met last December, after Serena read Sandberg’s bestselling book, Lean In. Since then, the pair have become very close, particularly after the death of Sandberg’s husband in May. Serena helped comfort Sandberg during her grieving process, even sending her supportive text messages from Europe, where Serena was competing. “I would get that text and look at it, and would feel pretty emotional—like I am now,” Sandberg told Price. “I would feel like she was carrying me.”
She danced with Donald Trump on New Year’s Eve: Months before Serena would win her second career “Serena Slam” and months before the Donald would declare his candidacy for president, the two hung out at Trump’s New Year's party, Price writes. They even shared a dance. Trump would later attend Serena’s quarterfinal match against older sister Venus at this year’s U.S. Open.
Serena gets personal home decorating advice from Martha Stewart: “She’s asked me lots of questions about the big house she’s building down in Jupiter [Fla.],” Stewart told Price. “She likes to hang out with success.”
Serena is obsessed with Chick-fil-A: Price writes that Serena is “addicted” to Chick-Fil-A. For a fast-food option, it makes a lot of sense: Serena has never tried red meat. Eat mor chikin, indeed.
She received the James Bond treatment: Serena became Aston Martin’s Chief Sporting Officer this year because “she’s a predator,” Aston Martin design director Marek Recihman told Price. But here’s the coolest part: Her new Aston Martin was custom-detailed by the same person who worked on James Bond’s car in Spectre.
S.L. Price’s full cover story on Serena Williams, the 2015 Sportsperson of the Year, will be on newsstands this week.
- Stanley Kay