The tennis star shared what scares her most about becoming a mom.

By Kristin Canning
Updated August 17, 2017

It’s no surprise that Serena Williams was still kicking butt at the gym well into her third trimester (for proof, see here). But it might catch you off guard to learn she's a little nervous about giving birth. In an interview with Vogue, the tennis superstar opened up about her new mom fears, and her plans to return to center court after her baby is born. These are a few of Williams's best quotes about her pregnancy and what's to come in the months ahead.

On why she thinks she's having a girl

“Two weeks after we found out, I played the Australian Open. I told Alexis it has to be a girl because there I was playing in 100-degree weather, and that baby never gave me any trouble. Ride or die. Women are tough that way.”

On returning to tennis

“I used to think I’d want to retire when I have kids, but no. I’m definitely coming back. Walking out there and hearing the crowd, it may seem like nothing. But there’s no better feeling in the world."

On the records still looming

"Obviously, if I have a chance to go out there and catch up with Margaret [Court, who has 24 major titles], I am not going to pass that up. If anything, this pregnancy has given me a new power.”

On the the word 'power'

"In the beginning I didn’t like it when they said that my sister and I were power players. I thought, I don’t hit as hard as a Monica Seles. In Australia last year, I read that Maria Sharapova’s backhand and forehand are as good or better than mine, and that the only reason I win is that my serve is bigger. I was like, wait a minute, please. I place my serve. And what about my volleys? My speed? I’m the player who’s hitting angles. I’m the player who moves you. I use my brain, and that’s really why I win. Not only me, but women in general sometimes feel that power is a bad word. As I’ve gotten older I’ve started to feel differently about it. Power is beauty. Strength is beauty. So now on the court I want people to think that I’m powerful. But I also want them to be shocked at how I play. I want people to expect something, then get something different.”

On baring it all on the cover of Vanity Fair

“I was really nervous about that shoot. I’ve not been that exposed, and I was unsure up until a couple of days before. But I’m happy with how raw and real it is. Being black and being on the cover was really important to me. The success of one woman should be the inspiration to another, and I’m always trying to inspire and motivate the black girls out there. I’m not a model. I’m not the girl next door. But I’m not hiding. Actually, I look like a lot of women out there. The American woman is many women, and I think it’s important to speak to American women at a time when they need encouragement. I’m not political, but I think everyone is worried, to a degree.”

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On her fears about becoming a mom

“I’m nervous about childbirth. I’m not a spring chicken. The one thing I really want is an epidural, which I know a lot of people are against, but I’ve had surgeries galore, and I don’t need to experience any more pain if I can avoid it. But the biggest thing is that I don’t really think I’m a baby person. Not yet. That’s something I have to work on. I’m so used to me-me-me, taking care of my health, my body, my career. I always ask, Am I going to be good enough?"

On her plan to defend her Australian Open title

"It's the most outrageous plan. I just want to put that out there. That's like three months after I give birth. I'm not walking anything back, but I'm just saying it's pretty intense."