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Serena Williams ready to "reflect on my life and career" in two-book deal with Random House
The 23-time major champion will start with an "intimate" and "open-hearted" memoir.
Published Oct 18, 2023
NEW YORK (AP) — Now that she's stepped back from the sport she dominated like few others, Serena Williams is ready to reflect.
The tennis great has a two-book deal with the Random House Publishing Group, starting with an "intimate" memoir in which she will open up about everything from her childhood and early tennis training, dramatized in the 2021 film “King Richard,” to her extraordinary career and the obstacles and setbacks she endured along the way. The book is not yet titled and does not have a release date.
"For so long, all I was focused on was winning, and I never sat down to look back and reflect on my life and career," Williams, who in August gave birth to her second child, said in a statement Wednesday. "Over the last year I've really enjoyed taking the time with my growing family to celebrate my accomplishments and explore my other passions. I couldn't be at a more perfect place to be able to take-on such a personal intimate project, and there's no one I would rather do it with than the team at Random House."
The second book, also untitled, will be an "inspirational" work, according to Random House, which announced that "Williams will offer rules for living that draw on her experiences as a philanthropist and advocate, her career as an investment unicorn with Serena Ventures, and someone who has long sought to lift a diverse and emergent generation of young women whose aspirations are not confined to the court."
Williams, 42, announced her retirement — famously eschewing that term and saying instead she was "evolving" away from professional tennis — shortly before the 2022 U.S. Open. She has not played since that tournament, which included a second-round victory over No. 2-ranked Anett Kontaveit before a third-round loss to Ajla Tomljanovic.
Williams left the sport with 23 Grand Slam titles in singles, another 14 in doubles with her sister Venus, more than 300 weeks at No. 1 in the rankings and four Olympic gold medals. She also has been widely cited for breaking down racial barriers in tennis and racial and gender barriers in sports and beyond.
In an essay published in Vogue last year, she wrote that she hoped that because of her success "women athletes feel that they can be themselves on the court. They can play with aggression and pump their fists. They can be strong yet beautiful. They can wear what they want and say what they want and kick butt and be proud of it all."
Her previous books include a memoir from 2009, "On the Line," and a picture story, "The Adventures of Qai Qai," released last year.
In its press release Wednesday, Random House announced that her new memoir would be an "open-hearted exploration of the experiences that have shaped her life." Williams will share her thoughts on "overcoming scrutiny and attacks in a predominantly white and male-dominated sport, navigating devastating losses on and off the court, falling in love with tech entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian, celebrating body diversity and expanding the confines of style in sports and pop culture, bringing awareness to maternal health disparities, and being a devoted mother to her daughters, Olympia and Adira."