When Danielle Collins first picked up a racquet she dreamt of one day sharing the court with Serena and Venus Williams. Similar to many American players, it was a dream that felt unobtainable as she sat in front of the TV screen to watch their matches. Now, ranked No. 36 in the world, Collins is seeing her dreams come to fruition every time she takes the court.

Collins not only shares the court with the two iconic players, but she has developed a special relationship with them both and it's somewhat of an emotional topic for the 27-year-old.

"She's a really awesome person off the court, I love seeing her in the locker room and ideally it would be great if we didn't play each other because I always want her to do super well," Serena said of Collins while speaking to press earlier this season at Roland Garros.

Collins has battled against both Serena and Venus on two occasions and it's been a very surreal experience, but being able to get to know the sisters on a more personal level off the court has been humbling. She cherishes their conversations and all three are always sending positive vibes to each other.

"It's almost an emotional topic for me because for so long I have adored them so much and for Serena to say such nice things about me, I'm very flattered," Collins told Baseline.


She has taken away a wealth of knowledge from both, but one of the biggest things she's learned comes from Serena. The 23-time major champion always has something to offer no matter if she's having the best or worst of days on the court.

"She always offers something and you can always learn something from watching Serena," says Collins. "I think that's really important for the younger generations is seeing the emotions she plays with and seeing the consistent positive attitude and self-belief that she has.

I think it's so many things but she offers so much to us emotionally and she has inspired so many generations of tennis by her accomplishments but also the great things she does off the court by giving back. I think she's an incredible figure that we are so lucky to have in our sport. Just to see her over the years and become the greatest player of all time, it's been wild."

Collins will undoubtedly take her friendship with the major champions and use it to grow both on and off the court. She's set to kick off her North American hard-court swing in San Jose and is looking to maintain the same momentum that saw her lift the Palermo Ladies Open trophy last month.

She's also excited for the array of restaurant options that support her gluten-free/dairy-free diet in the Northern California area.

"I love going anywhere that grills seafood, it's definitely one of my favorite foods. There's a restaurant down the street and they have a selection of different seafoods that I'll probably end up going to," says Collins.

Collins will face countrywoman Shelby Rogers in the WTA 500 event's opening round.