Serena Williams is one of the world’s sporting megastars, plain and simple. She’s without a doubt the greatest female tennis player to have ever played the game – she established herself as the best of all-time recently when she won her 23rd Grand Slam, surpassing the next best, Steffi Graf’s haul of 22 – and is also charming, charismatic, and is a celebrity figure in her own right. When she’s at the top of her game, no one can touch her on court; she decimates opponents, even when handicapped, hampered by injury, even when pregnant!
This success on the court has translated to plenty of opportunities off it, which she’s grabbed with both her hands, making her one of the wealthiest sportswomen on the planet. So, understandably, having led the glittering life she’s had, there have been a ton of highs, moments that even now probably still causes her to pinch herself to ensure it’s reality and they did actually happen. But of course, with the highs, there’s inevitably going to be some low points too, and with Serena being the superstar she is, she’s put under the microscope and these moments are going to be highlighted. Some of these pictures depict embarrassing moments, some are cringeworthy, some she’d find regretful, and there are tragic moments too; these are the top 15 pictures Serena Williams doesn’t want you to see.
15 Game, Set, Flash!
In tennis, men have it a whole lot easier when it comes to choosing an outfit to slap on and walk out in on court. For most men, any old thing will do just fine. But for women, tennis is as much as a fashion show than what happens on the court with the racket in hand. Therefore sometimes, women have to wear certain outfits, even though they might not be the most comfortable items of clothing in the world. Women have also got to wear something under those skirts, because if they don’t they’ll be unintentionally flashing the crowds every other point. Unfortunately Serena forgot to do just that on this occasion, and ended up giving the crowds and everyone watching a real eyeful. She must have been horrified upon seeing the photos after the match – not one of her finest moments.
14 Funny Reaction
Here’s a candid shot taken in 2014 at the WTA tennis finals in Singapore, a shot we find hilarious, but one that Serena certainly won’t be laughing at. Serena’s face is full of anguish in this candid shot, she’s probably in the process of expelling a few expletives too, and you can understand why, because this pic was taken towards the back end of her match with Simona Helep, when she was on the road to defeat. Serena wouldn’t want you to see this picture, not only because of her screwed up face and that unfortunate facial expression, but because it would remind people of her embarrassing defeat at the hands of Simona – an opponent she was expected to brush aside. It was regarded to be her worst loss since the age of 16, so not great memories there.
13 Drake Drama
Rapper Drake and Serena had been long-time friends before they started dating in 2015. Drake began appearing at Serena’s matches, being spotted in the background, and then started sitting in the player’s box with Serena’s family. After plenty of shirking around the issue, they eventually confirmed they were dating, but all didn’t go according to plan. They soon split, but that’s not the only reason Serena wouldn’t want you to see this picture. It ruined a good friendship – it’s pretty tricky to go back to being close friends once you’ve dated and things haven’t worked out – but that time also marked a low point in Serena career, a period of time where she suffered a string of embarrassing losses, including one of the worst of her career, a thrashing at the hands of Roberta Vinci in the 2015 in the US Open Semi-finals.
The media got on Drake’s back because of it, saying that his showing up to Serena’s events were proving to be a distraction, and perhaps there was some truth to that, because as soon as he began keeping his distance, Serena was back on track. He was her bad luck charm, and Serena got plenty of aggro too for letting her personal life affect her tennis; definitely not a great time in Serena’s life, all that sneaking around, and in the end a friendship was ruined and their relationship ended up going nowhere.
12 Eating Dog Food
Serena may have plenty of brains on the tennis court, but this isn’t the most intelligent thing she’s ever done.
Serena loves her dogs and takes her adorable Yorkshire Terrier on tour with her whenever feasible. She brought it along last year during the Italian Open, and as always, gave it the five-star treatment. She ordered some gourmet dog food, but when it arrived, it looked so appetizing, she just had to have a mouthful…big mistake. It may be gourmet and look amazing, but it’s still for dogs Serena! She posted a video on Snapchat, saying, "I ate a spoonful. Don't judge me!” I reckon plenty were though, especially after the inevitable happened and she ended up spending half the night in the bathroom. She had to play the next day and was in real discomfort, but ended up winning all the same. "I don't think it's consumable for humans. They should have wrote that!" You don’t say Serena – not one of her finest moments.
Serena wouldn’t want you to see this pic, and wishes she never had to either, simply because it’s a moment of a really tragic experience, one that’s affected Serena and her entire family immensely, something that will stick with them for life.
The Williams sisters are full siblings, but they also have other half-siblings. One of these half-sisters was a woman named Yetunde Price, the oldest daughter of Serena’s mom, Oracene. They were very close, and she was working with Serena too, as her personal assistant. But at the age of 31, Yetunde was tragically murdered as a result of a drive-by shooting. She was driving with her boyfriend, when they were shot at, and Yetunde was instantly killed. Serena wouldn’t want to recollect those memories or have people talking about that incident, because as her sister, it’ll all just be too much to bear; she’ll want to remember Yetunde in her own way without any unnecessary intrusion.
10 Being Confrontational
Serena’s known for being almost zen-like on the court, proper chilled out and relaxed as she goes about decimating her opponents. But sometimes, even the most relaxed people can lose it, and unfurl all that anger onto a poor unsuspecting individual. That’s what happened in Serena’s case, and she ended up getting into plenty of hot water because of it.
Seeing Serena blow up on court and become confrontational, arguing with decisions and being abusive is a rare sight, but that’s what took place at the US Open in 2009. She lost her US Open semi-final match against Kim Clijsters, during which she launched a tirade of abuse against the lineswoman who foot faulted her. Because of the outburst, she was fined $10,500, plus an additional $500 for smashing her racket, and was also given a suspended ban. A dire day on court all-round for Serena, who wouldn’t want people to relive that incident.
9 Quiet Please
Even superstars like Serena Williams have to abide by the rules. She was in attendance at the Honda Classic golf tournament one year and was at the 17th tee watching Tiger Woods prepare to tee off. Although she obviously knew who Tiger was, it was pretty evident that Serena wasn’t too aware of golfing etiquette. She attempted to take a photo of Tiger, but oh no, even Serena’s not allowed to do that. The PGA Tour’s pretty strict when it comes to those things, and the security guard present enforced that no-camera policy to the max. As she whipped out her phone and attempted to take a snap, a security guard – it must have been one brave security guard – put his hand over her phone to stop her taking the pic. She initially seemed shocked, and then appeared to be pretty sheepish when everything was explained to her. She was aware the cameras were zooming in on her too which added to her embarrassment. You might be number one in the world of tennis Serena, but there’s no special privileges on the PGA Tour!
8 Crip Walk
At the 2012 London Olympics, Serena defeated Maria Sharapova to win gold, and that led to an impromptu celebration which the crowds just loved, but some people thought that the dance had a different meaning. Serena has just said that she did the dance because she was overcome with joy at having just won gold, but it kicked up a ton of controversy. It became evident that the dance was actually The Crip Walk, a somewhat notorious dance that originates from the ganglands of Compton. Plenty of people spoke out about her choice of dance move with it being deemed to be gang-related, and many were glad she didn’t break out those moves again when she won in the doubles.
It was all a bit of fun for Serena, but those looking for a deeper meaning and overanalyzing the steps, somewhat soured what should have been a glorious occasion for Serena Williams at the Olympics, creating controversy out of something innocuous.
7 Hair Loss
This is a nightmare pic for any celebrity. She was spotted out and about, all glammed up attending some event or other, but with a bald patch. Male celebrities are pretty touchy about their hair, but for women, this kind of a pic is nightmare scenario.
At the time of this pic, Serena was 30 – not really an age where you’d expect her to have started losing her hair. But judging from this pic it appears as if her natural locks have already started disappearing, as she’s got a pretty visible chunk of hair missing from the middle part of her head. Understandably this pic got plenty of people talking, saying that her hair loss was as a result of her getting extensions and hair weaving, a condition known as traction alopecia. Whatever it’s called, it’s not a flattering pic, and Serena must have been horrified when it got out.
6 Dizzy, Disoriented And Crying
As a tennis player, or any athlete for that matter, being forced to essentially quit in the middle of a match is one of the worst feelings in the world. You’ve been training so hard, thousands of your adoring fans in attendance have paid good money to see you play, but your body just gives way, making continuing on an impossible task. But it’s even worse when you’re in a doubles match, because your partner has to retire from the match too, and in Serena’s case, she ruined her sister’s chances of progressing further at Wimbledon in 2014.
Apparently Serena was suffering from some sort of a viral illness, and even had trouble tossing the ball. She eventually realized she couldn’t continue and collapsed in her chair, crying, and seriously unwell, being comforted by Venus. Obviously, there was no animosity between Venus and Serena. Venus was being the caring big sister, but even so, Serena must have felt terrible that she had ended hers but also her sister’s run in the competition. It wasn’t a pretty sight seeing Serena in such distress.
5 Bad Mood
Even someone of Serena's calibre gets stroppy from time to time – it’s not always smiles, sunshine and roses.
Press conferences must get mightily difficult. It’s safe to say no one wants to do post-match press conferences, but you’re obligated to do so, to give the media the lowdown about what happened during your recent match. Win, and you want to bask in your glory, lose and you just want to be left alone, not go in front of the media and be asked a series of ridiculous questions. On this occasion, Serena had just defeated big sister Venus at the 2015 US Open, so it was of course, a bitter-sweet moment, as it always is when they play. At the conference, a reporter asked a really dumb question – “why aren’t you smiling?” It was a dumb question but then Serena got stroppy, answering that she was really tired and just didn’t want to be there answering dumb questions from stupid reporters – well, she said something along those lines anyway, and got into plenty of hot water over it.
4 Young Pic
Pictures from back in the day, young pics, are always going to be mightily embarrassing. There’s no shortages of pictures out there of a young Serena, because she embarked on a tennis career from a young age, and over the years, as she’s grown up and blossomed into the fine woman she is, there have been a load of different looks, different styles that she’s experimented with on court.
That’s the thing; she’s such a prominent athlete now, she's beautiful, she's the best player to have ever played the game and she's always in the limelight, so that she must really cringe when looking back at pics like this – it really wasn’t a flattering look. Sure, she’s young, but braces are never a good look, and what was she thinking with that hair? Probably copying big sister Venus…yeah, let’s blame Venus.
3 Serious Injury
This pic depicts Serena crying out in pain on court, because of not only the injury she sustained, but because of everything she’d gone through recently. This injury was bad enough. It was the second of successive ankle injuries that had marred her time in Australia, and it went on to affect her game for a long time, even though she found a way to battle through the tournament. But this picture is probably depicting her emotions about everything she’d gone through recently just to be on court, and then that went and happened.
She actually thought she was going to die at one point after suffering a pulmonary embolism. She had emergency surgery after a blood clot was found in her lungs. She got over that, recovered, and then yet another problem struck – more injuries, injuries which blighted her 2012-13 season.
2 No.175 World Ranking
It’s amazing to think, that with everything Serena’s achieved on the court, that she’s ever been anything but number one. We all know, and she does too, that when she’s on song, she can decimate any opponent in front of her, but things haven’t always clicked, and there’ve been times when Serena hasn’t always been at the races.
Serena wasn’t having the best of years in 2011. But you’d think, if there’s one place she’d feel at home, having dominated the event for so long, it’d be Wimbledon. But in 2011 she was dumped out of Wimbledon in the fourth round, her earliest exit from SW19, after being handed a thrashing and losing in straight sets to the unconventional Marion Bartoli. It also meant she slipped way down the rankings to 175, her lowest ever world ranking, so understandably, she wouldn’t want to see, or want you to see, any pics or footage from those days.
1 Another Wardrobe Malfunction
Around this time in 2012, Serena wasn’t having the best time of it. When it rains, it pours, and Serena ended up being in the tabloids again, this time not because of her dire performances on court, but because of some unfortunate mishaps off it. I’ve said that Serena considers Wimbledon to be her home, but it seems as if she got a little too comfy during this night out and forgot a vital piece of kit – her knickers! Yes, Serena wasn’t wearing any when she attended the Wimbledon Pre-Party 2012, and of course the media were quick to pick up on it, the fact that Serena likes to go bare under there. Serena’s had her fair share of wardrobe malfunctions over the years, but this has got to be up there as one of the worst.