Serena Williams may not have walked away with her 24th grand slam win at the 2018 U.S. Open, but that doesn’t mean she’s not a winner.
“She fought for her life, for our child, for recognition, for equal pay, for women’s rights. She never gives up,” Ohanian captioned the video on Twitter:
She fought for her life, for our child, for recognition, for equal pay, for women’s rights. She never gives up.
— §AlexisOhanian 7️⃣7️⃣6️⃣ (@alexisohanian) September 7, 2018
In the video, Williams mentioned how she had to skip the 2017 U.S. Open while she was “fighting for, literally, [her] life at the hospital.” She was referencing the complications she had after giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr., on Sept. 1, 2017.
The tennis star opened up to Vogue about the difficulties she fought through. After delivery via an emergency C-section, there was a moment of quiet as Williams held her daughter for the first time.
“That was an amazing feeling,” Williams told Vogue. “And then everything went bad.”
She experienced blood clots in her lungs, a large hematoma and then a six-week recovery period during which she battled postpartum depression. Because Williams was able to survive all of that, she said in her husband’s video that “no matter happens in any match … I just feel like I’ve already won.”
Ultimately, Williams was defeated by 20-year-old Naomi Osaka in the U.S. Open final on Sept. 9 during a heated, emotional match. Williams and the chair umpire got into an argument over a ruling that she, and many others, ultimately chocked up to sexism.
Following her loss, Williams’ fans championed her skills not only as a tennis player, but as an activist for women’s rights:
“You were marvelous, @serena williams and are an incredible advocate for women everywhere,” Twitter user and fan @BartonGretchen wrote on Twitter:
You were marvelous, @serenawilliams and are an incredible advocate for women everywhere!
— Gretchen Barton (@BartonGretchen) September 10, 2018
Tennis icon Billie Jean King even showed her support for Williams’ power on and off the court, and thanked her for “calling out [a] double standard” in the sport:
(2/2) When a woman is emotional, she’s “hysterical” and she’s penalized for it. When a man does the same, he’s “outspoken” & and there are no repercussions. Thank you, @serenawilliams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same.
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) September 9, 2018
And of course, her husband was by her side, no matter what. Ohanian even celebrated her for supporting her opponent by retweeting a video of the moment she asked the crowd not to “boo,” but to celebrate Osaka’s win:
— Jeff Eisenband (@JeffEisenband) September 8, 2018
Even without another professional win at the U.S. Open this year, Williams has a lot for which to be thankful. She told Vogue that her daughter made her see the importance of life beyond professional accomplishments:
“When I’m too anxious I lose matches, and I feel like a lot of that anxiety disappeared when Olympia was born. Knowing I’ve got this beautiful baby to go home to makes me feel like I don’t have to play another match. I don’t need the money or the titles or the prestige. I want them, but I don’t need them. That’s a different feeling for me.”
Serena Williams will always be a champion in our book!