'Enjoying every second': How Serena Williams is making the most of quarantine

Max Zahn
Reporter

Tennis star Serena Williams says she isn’t bored in quarantine — as can be seen by the powder blue and white Cinderella costume she wore during a recent interview with Yahoo Finance.

Williams, 38, joined the interview after playing with her two-year-old daughter Alexis Olympia, who Williams says has kept her busy at home, along with her preparations and dieting for an eventual return to the court.

“Obviously I’m rooting for businesses, which would include mine, to be able to come back,” says Williams. “It’s good to take a break and just really focus on the things that are really important.”

The shift from the court to quarantine took some adjustment, Williams said.

“In the beginning, it was definitely hard, but once I got over that, I was like, I’m kind of in love with this staying-at-home life,” Williams says.


Tennis star Serena Williams appears on "Reset Your Mindset at Work," a special made in partnership between Yahoo! and Fortune.

“I started quarantining a little bit earlier, so I was in the house a really long time,” Williams says. “Then I was like, OK, I’m with a two year old, who’s amazing but it’s a lot of work every single day.”

“Then she was in this phase where every word was ‘mommy,’ and I loved it, but at the same time I’m like I can’t hear this anymore, I can’t hear ‘mommy, mommy,’” she adds.

“It was definitely challenging, but we overcame it, and now we’re in our Cinderella robes,” she says.

The remarks aired on Wednesday during a special called “Reset Your Mindset at Work,” a partnership between Yahoo! and Fortune. It featured guests like Dallas Mavericks owner and “Shark Tank” co-host Mark Cuban, former Aetna (CVS) CEO Mark Bertolini, and American Medical Association President Patrice Harris — all of whom explained how the coronavirus outbreak has upended their work and what comes next.

In between the agonies and ecstasies of parenting, the 23-time Grand Slam winner is preparing for her eventual return to the court with strict dieting, including 30-day cleanses and intermittent fasting.

Williams has prepped for comebacks before. Three years ago, she nearly died from medical complications linked to the birth of her daughter that left her bedridden for six weeks. After the harrowing experience, her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, became an advocate for paid family leave.

Williams returned to the court eight months after giving birth, and in January won her first tournament since the pregnancy.

Staying focused on health

Williams says it’s important to stay focused on health amid so much at-home time. “Everyone has been struggling with this whole thing, and I see all the memes online that talk about quarantine, how everybody is getting a little thicker.”

In mid-March, liquor and grocery store sales spiked more than 27% for wine and 26% for spirits, according to Nielsen data. Williams said she would to join the self-isolation party but knows it would hinder her return to tennis.

“I really took out this time to cleanse my body,” she adds. “It’s no fun, and I’m like, I want to drink in quarantine too, but I also want to be healthy when I go back out and play tennis. I want to feel super good.”

Williams urged others to use this opportunity to take care of their health.

“Other people should think about it that way too because you never really get to spend this much time at home,” she says. “You can really control what’s actually going into your body.”

She also offered a lesson from Ohanian, who spends part of quarantine at a nearby office that he rented before the pandemic, she said.

“Husbands take note,” she says. “He already had this office that he goes to that literally nobody is ever in except for himself.”

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