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Why Serena Williams won't be her daughter's tennis coach

The tennis star, who has won 23 grand slams, doesn't hold daughter Olympia to her standards. 
Serena Williams says she won't pressure her four-year-old daughter Olympia to play tennis. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
Serena Williams says she won't pressure her four-year-old daughter Olympia to play tennis. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)Getty Images

Tennis star Serena Williams is a four-time Olympic medalist but she doesn’t plan to coach daughter Olympia.

In fact, the athlete is pretty sensible about her 4-year-old girl’s athleticism, she made clear in a sneak peek of her appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" Monday. When asked to gauge Olympia’s tennis skills, Serena was hilariously put on the spot.  

“Ummm….” she paused. “Are you asking as a mom or an athlete?” eliciting laughter from the studio audience. “I don’t know if I can be objective because I look at her and I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s good…’”

Serena's perfectionism only surfaces when she watches videos of Olympia shared by husband and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. “I’m like, ‘That was a good shot but that’s not her consistent backhand [stroke],” she said. 

Fortunately, Serena doesn’t have high expectations. “I don’t push her,” she clarified to DeGeneres. “She’s four….She’s alright. I would say she needs to — I’ve seen four-year-olds that might take her out …” 

Serena also credited her dad Richard Williams, who from childhood coached her and sister Venus Williams, for being "amazing" adding, "I couldn't have done that." The family's journey was depicted in the 2021 film "King Richard," which was nominated six times for an Academy Award, including best picture.

Since the pandemic, tennis has been a big deal in the Williams-Ohanian household.

But Serena won’t play teacher — instead, she enrolled Olympia in private classes. “I don’t have the patience to teach tennis,” she told DeGeneres. “It’s so weird but I don’t really like to play with people who don’t know how to play tennis well. So it drives me nuts.” 

However, Serena recognized how intimidating the lesson could be — for the coach! — so she kept her family’s identity concealed, at least in the beginning (although the teacher, who follows Serena on social media had her suspicions).

It sounds like the teacher will be using creativity to engage Olympia on the court. “Her ambition is playing princess games," said Serena. "The more we can play anything with princess, that’s her whole life.”