'Money Was Never A Motivation': Serena Williams On Financial Success In Tennis

'Money Was Never A Motivation': Serena Williams On Financial Success In Tennis

by Nurein Ahmed

Serena Williams is considered among the most successful tennis players of all time, both in terms of championships won and career earnings.

The greatest tennis players are not only rewarded for their efforts with heavy pieces of hardware at the end of the tournament, but they are also well compensated. And because of their magnetic global reach, they command handsome pay for their personal brand.

Serena Williams won 23 Grand Slams in singles and held the No. 1 ranking on the WTA tour for over 300 weeks. But that only represents a fraction of her tennis accomplishments. Throughout her distinguished career, Williams amassed nearly $100 million in career prize money.

But in a recent interview on Bloomberg Originals, Serena opened up on her booming financial success both on and off the court. The retired legend told hosts Jason Kelly and Alex Rodriguez that money was not her biggest motivator while she was an aspiring tennis player.

Instead, Williams briefly explains her humble background growing up in Compton, California, where she played on public tennis courts with the desire to become a Grand Slam champion, so much so that she would forget collecting her winner's check after winning a tournament.

"When I started tennis, first of all, I'm from Compton, California, and I remember playing on these courts and, you know, my life was great. I never felt like I needed anything, you know? And so for me, money was never a motivation."

"I remember when I first started, back in the day, they used to write out checks after you won your tournament. And I would always forget to get the checks. And so at the end of the year, they would always have to say, Serena, 'We have all these checks for you'. I'm like, 'Oh my God!'."

"My starting point was always like, I just want to win championships and I want to have fun and I wanna be a great tennis player. And quite frankly, I just wanted to win a Grand Slam. And honestly, for me, everything else was a bonus."

Her $94.8 million in on-court earnings is twice the number of the next woman on the all-time list. In late 2022, Forbes reported that the legendary American is estimated to have built a fortune worth $260 million, which is now inching closer to $300 million.

Serena is light years ahead of other female athletes, having transitioned to become a very successful businesswoman. She describes herself these days as an investor, having " evolved" away from tennis. She is a renowned venture capitalist and has admitted to investing in over 85 companies.

"And obviously it's great. Like, you know, I really, everything that I have believed me, I worked really hard for. Yeah. Nothing really came for free and nothing came easy. Like I think everything was super hardworking for me."

"But it is cool to look back and see the success that I've had financially, but also multiplying that now. Yeah. And trying to expand that. And then again, just considering like, what does that mean for me going forward."


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