Having got this Australian Open off to a visually arresting start with her one-legged catsuit, Serena Williams has continued to combine fashion with tennis in the manner of an expert multi-tasker.
Williams was pushed deep into a deciding set overnight by Aryna Sabalenka, but came up with some clutch tennis to secure a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 victory and move into her 54th major quarter-final.
Then, in Williams’s on-court interview, she revealed that her attention had been diverted back to the USA on Saturday’s rest day, when she was drawn into a debate over fabrics for her fashion company.
Asked about her clothing business, Williams replied: “It was so crazy – yesterday on my day off, one of our people was out of the office … As CEO, I had to kind of step up a little bit. I was on the phone with our designer making final orders and deciding how much fabric we need for our new collection.
“It was almost a mind trip because I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! We have to play tomorrow but we’ve got to get this done.’ Business keeps going.”
Both the Williams sisters studied fashion at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale during the Noughties. At the time, they were accused of taking their eye off the ball in a very literal sense. Yet the fact that they are both still so committed to tennis – Venus at 40, Serena at 39 – suggests that their outside interests have paid off in the long run.