Serena Williams has earned her spot as one of the greatest athlete’s of all time thanks in large part to her adaptability on the court, where she managed to overcome unforeseen obstacles match after match.
That ability also serves her off the court as well it seems, and came in handy on her wedding day when she got what many brides would consider the worst possible news.
On the third episode of the HBO docuseries Being Serena, which airs on Wednesday night, viewers will get to see the moment that Serena received a text from her father Richard saying that he could not attend the wedding while in the midst of doing a photo shoot for Vogue.
She received that text just one hour before Richard was set to walk her down the aisle, and the image of her in wearing her stunning Alexander McQueen wedding dress was published by the magazine.
This of course is coming just as Serena heads to London where she will watch her friend Meghan Markle walk down the aisle, possibly going it alone as well just like the tennis great.
Alexandra Macon, who covered the wedding for Vogue, said on Wednesday that Serena never said anything about that text or her father’s absence – until now.
‘I can only imagine how all over the place her emotions must have been, but she radiated a sense of calm, even when things went wrong,’ Macon wrote in a post on Vogue.com ahead of the episode.
‘Unbeknownst to me at the time, her father and longtime coach, Richard, texted her an hour before the wedding was supposed to start, saying that he didn’t feel comfortable walking her down the aisle.’
Serena sounded just as calm and collected about the disappointing news when retelling the story of what happened for her HBO series.
‘He was in New Orleans, he had a suit, and I know he was really excited,’ explained Serena.
‘But then he wrote me and said: “Serena, I don’t want you to be mad at me, but I just can’t walk you down the aisle. I’m not myself anymore. I’m just too nervous.”‘In that moment Serena did not get angry at her father or start feeling sad for herself, choosing instead to comfort the man.
‘Daddy, it’s okay, if you don’t want to come to the wedding at all, that’s okay too. I’m not going to be upset with you about it, so I don’t want you to be upset about it,’ responded Serena.
She then offered viewers a rare look inside her mind as she broke down her thought process in that moment
‘Maybe a lot of daughters wouldn’t react the same way, but I know the struggles he’s had these last few years. His health is better now, but I know he still doesn’t feel like himself, doesn’t feel like he’s perfect,’ said Serena.
‘And if he doesn’t want to be up there in front of a lot of people, I completely understand. Look, when we first came on the scene, there were a lot of people who didn’t get him. I don’t think a lot of them wanted to get him. I don’t think a lot of him could have anyway.’
She then added: ‘Our family knows what we have. We just want each other to be happy. That’s what matters. I don’t think anything could ever change that.’
DailyMail.com noted at the time that Richard was nowhere to be seen at the wedding, and the fact that he was going through a contentious split from his wife at the time.
Just days after the wedding, Richard filed a cyber stalking/stalking violence protective order against Lakeisha Williams, his 38-year-old estranged wife.
Court papers obtained exclusively by DailyMail.com revealed Richard’s petition, filed in Palm Beach County, Florida, was submitted along with a second suit brought on by his son Chavoita Lesane, who also accused his stepmother of the same offense.
Richard, who introduced his daughters to tennis and still serves as part of their coaching staff, filed for separation in June of last year, accusing Lakeisha of stealing his social security checks and forging his signature to transfer his property to her.
Serena’s calm and collected attitude could be a result of motherhood, which she spoke about with Vogue earlier this year.
She was quick to admit that being a mother had been a challenge for her, comparing it to her time on the court.
‘Sometimes I get really down and feel like, Man, I can’t do this. It’s that same negative attitude I have on the court sometimes. I guess that’s just who I am,’ said Serena.
‘No one talks about the low moments – the pressure you feel, the incredible letdown every time you hear the baby cry.’
She then added: ‘I’ve broken down I don’t know how many times. Or I’ll get angry about the crying, then sad about being angry, and then guilty, like, Why do I feel so sad when I have a beautiful baby? The emotions are insane.’
In addition to Alexis, Serena is also getting help from her mom Oracene, who said she is concerned about her daughter’s work ethic.
‘She’s always been that way, ever since she was a little girl. She’s going to need to learn to slow down. She’s responsible for another life now,’ said Oracene, who is urging her daughter to be a strict parent.
‘You should see how they travel with that baby. They pack everything! It’s a bit extravagant for me. But once she’s back on the tour, she’ll find a balance.’
That baby will be living as normal a life as possible according to both parents.
‘She’s obviously going to have a very special life, but there are enough cautionary tales about kids who grow up in the spotlight,’ said her father.
‘How do you make your kid live in reality when your own reality is so . . . unreal? This kid is going to have more Instagram followers than me in about three weeks.’
Alexis OIympia currently has 332,000 followers on Instagram while her father has 306,000, but her Vogue cover should easily push baby ahead of father.
Read more: dailymail.