How Serena Williams’ former coach brought Simona Halep back from the brink of tennis retirement to become the world’s No. 1
Serena Williams, 23, won the U.S. Open earlier this month
In 1993, on a dark, wet day, Serena Williams arrived in her mother’s home office with a list of her goals for the future: to be a “great athlete, just like she is right now, because I am so competitive, but also to pursue my dreams,” she wrote.
Nearly three years later, the American tennis star had overcome the odds to win the U.S. Open in a five-set match. She had just begun to get serious about her career when her mother, Dottie Williams, approached her about helping with her business affairs. “I’m not a great businesswoman,” Serena Williams told her mother, “but I do know how to make money at it.”
Soon, Williams would become much more than just a tennis star. Over 15 years, she would become the No. 1 tennis player in the world, and the No. 7 businesswoman in the country, building her brand into a $2.3 billion fortune based on tennis, media rights and endorsement deals.
“When Serena and I got married,” Dottie Williams said in a June interview, sitting in her office in a Beverly Hills strip mall, “we told ourselves we were going to do this for as long as we could do it.”
Now, almost 20 years after her first meeting with her mother, Dottie Williams has given herself the ultimate challenge — she has announced she is stepping down as Serena Williams’ longtime coach. “It became very clear that my role was to help with Serena in business,” Dottie Williams said. “When I decided I wasn’t going to be able to do it anymore, I let Serena know.”
Dottie Williams said she is “really sad” to part ways with her daughter, but the two are in constant contact. And they agree on one thing: They are “a great team.”
“I’m going to miss her,” Dottie Williams said in an Instagram video from her home