According to colorlines.com, Serena Williams recently paid homage to the famous Vanity Fair cover of a nude, pregnant Demi Moore, by having the same photographer, Annie Leibovitz, shoot her recent pregnancy cover in a similar pose (the hand on that hip though – all Serena). Leibovitz also shot all of the story’s photos, including black-and-white images of Williams with Alexis Ohanian, her Armenian-American fiancé who co-founded Reddit.
The cover story focuses on Williams and Ohanian’s account of their year-and-a-half courtship, engagement last December and her subsequent pregnancy. Williams also discusses her plan to return to tennis in January, roughly three months after her child’s anticipated birthdate.
Read the article and view the full set of photos here.
Here’s why the WTA honored Williams with tennis’ top award.
Her dominance of the tour was so great that she made WTA Rankings history in the summer, too. For six weeks she actually had over twice as many ranking points as the No.2, something that had never happened before – Maria Sharapova was that No.2 for three weeks, Simona Halep the other three.
But the Grand Slams and historic ranking points lead are just the tip of the iceberg on the World No.1’s season. Her overall record was a sensational 53-3 – she won two more big WTA titles at Miami and Cincinnati, the only losses coming in the Madrid semifinals, the Toronto semifinals, and the US Open semifinals.
Williams also pocketed $10,582,642 in 2015, second only to her own $12,385,572 from 2013.
While Williams’ reign is undeniable, she wasn’t the only one in the family to take home an award. Serena’s big sister, Venus Williams, was also named WTA’s Comeback Player of the Year.
On top of 7 Grand Slam singles titles, tennis phenom Venus Williams can add a new achievement to her resume: Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Indiana University East.
Williams began her education at IU East in 2011, and completed her last course online this summer. During a trip to the Western Southern Open in August, she was able to travel to the campus for the first time.
“One of the main reasons that I chose IU East was because I felt so at home. It was like family, like it was my school, and I was so excited. It’s been an incredible journey,” Williams said. “I’ve learned so much. It was always my dream to have a business degree and I ended up going to art school so many times, but in the back of my head I felt like I needed the tools to be a better leader, to be a better planner, to be better at all of the things I wanted to do in my businesses because I’m so hands-on.”
In 2007, Williams received her associate degree in fashion design from the University of Fort Lauderdale, before deciding to go back for a higher degree.
After completing the undergraduate program at IU East, Williams stated that she was able to take the lessons and skills she learned in her courses and apply them to her business matters, including a clothing line, EleVen by Venus Williams.
Williams is the first female graduate to earn a degree under the WTA agreement between IU East and the Women’s Tennis Benefits Association (WTBA). The WTA represents over 2,500 professional women athletes that represent over 92 nations.
Administrators at IU East sang Williams’ praises as an exceptional student with enthusiasm about learning in all of her courses.
IU East Chancellor Kathryn Cruz-Uribe spoke of Williams:
“I greatly admire Venus and her dedication to complete her online degree while continuing to play professional tennis, train, and run a business full-time. I can only imagine how challenging this has been, and I know that Venus has been a great role model for the other WTA players enrolled at IU East as well as to students in her classes.”
A knee injury and the end of her boycott at Indian Wells drew headlines when Serena Williams returned to the BNP Paribas Open weeks ago. After knee inflammation forced her to withdraw from Indian Wells, Williams returned and dominated Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-0 in the final of the Miami Open. The victory not only marked Williams’ eighth Key Biscayne title, but it maintains her undefeated streak in 2015.
The eight victories in Key Biscayne makes Serena Williams only the fourth woman to win a WTA event eight times. With a record of 18-0, Williams has claimed her 19th Grand Slam championship and her twelfth consecutive final.
Saturday afternoon’s victory also improves Williams’ record against Carla Suarez Navarro to 5-0, and Serena has a lifetime record of 73-7 at Key Biscayne.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Russian Tennis Federation President Shamil Tarpischev has been fined $25,000 by the WTA Tour and suspended from tour involvement for a year for questioning Serena and Venus Williams’ gender in comments on Russian television last week.
Tarpischev appeared on the Russian late-night show “Evening Urgant” alongside former WTA player Elena Dementieva last week. When Dementieva was asked what it was like to play against the Williams sisters, Tarpischev jumped in and referred to them as the “Williams brothers,” according to multiple reports.
After a back-and-forth with the show host and Dementieva, who did not laugh at the comment, Tarpischev reportedly continued: “It’s frightening when you look at them. But really you just need to play against the ball.”
The derogatory remarks by the head of the Russian Tennis Federation come out of nowhere and attacks not just two of the sport’s biggest stars, but the very foundation of the women’s game.
The WTA Tour said Friday that the $25,000 fine is the maximum allowed under tour rules and that it is seeking Tarpischev’s removal as chairman of the Kremlin Cup for one year. The tour also said Tarpischev owes the Williams sisters a personal apology.
Serena Williams won her 53rd WTA title by beating Johanna Larsson, 6-4, 6-1, in the final of the Swedish Open on Sunday at Bastad. The 24-year-old Swede broke to lead 3-1 in the first set before Williams fought back to 3-3. Larsson advanced to 4-3 before caving in to the American’s strong serve and losing the next three games. Williams dominated the second set, breaking Larsson’s serve twice. Williams also defeated 76th-ranked Larsson in their only previous match in the Fed Cup earlier this year.
Serena Williams of the U.S. returns the ball to Poland’s Urszula Radwanska on the fourth day of the WTA Qatar Ladies Open tennis tournament in Doha, Qatar, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Osama Faisal)
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — An emotional Serena Williams returned to the top of women’s tennis, overcoming a series of potentially career-ending injuries since 2010 to become the oldest woman ever to hold the No. 1 ranking. The 31-year-old Williams rallied from 4-1 down in the third to beat former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the quarterfinals of the Qatar Open on Friday. She needed to reach the semifinals to replace Victoria Azarenka at No. 1 when the rankings come out next week.
Williams held up one finger after clinching the match with an ace and wiped away the tears as she addressed the cheering crowd. “I never thought I would be here again,” Williams said. “Oh my gosh, I’ve been through so much. I never thought I would be here.”
Chris Evert held the top ranking in 1985 just shy of her 31st birthday. It has been a long journey back to the top for Williams.