While it may be difficult to believe given her stature in the sport, the 23-time Grand Slam champion did heed the advice of her dad Richard.
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"I've always seen my dad be an entrepreneur, and so it was natural for me to want to do more. He always told me, 'Have a backup plan in case tennis didn't work out,'" shared Serena Williams in Daniella Pearson's podcast Business of Feelings that was recorded prior to her retirement.
This mentality stems from their experience as Black people – Williams knows that they would not have it easy.
"I've always been someone that has been business-minded. I was just at Black Tech Week. I was speaking to them, saying, I think, in particular, Black people and African-Americans are always entrepreneurs because of what we had to live through," said Serena Williams."You have to work harder especially if you're not born with a lot of money. You have to think of ways just to make money in a fresh way because you're not given the same opportunities."
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And so, despite her winning on the biggest stages of the Grand Slams, she dedicated herself to building her backup plans. She studied fashion design at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and business management and pre-med at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
"I went to fashion school and then I actually did business school in UMass and there were a lot of things I did," added Williams. "Meanwhile, this is during and after winning Wimbledons and US Opens so it was kind of nuts. But I'm a planner and I like a backup plan."