"I never played for money": Serena Williams talks million-dollar ATM mishap

Sunday, 07 July 2024 at 04:00
serena eastbourne
Serena Williams appeared on the famous YouTube talk show ‘Hot Ones’ and chatted with host Sean Evans while devouring increasingly spicy chicken wings. In a fun conversation, Williams recalled the time she tried to deposit her first $1 million at her bank's drive-through ATM.
"I never really spent a lot of money. I was just so serious. I don't know what happened to me. I used to be serious, so I just went to the drive through, and the guy was like, 'Uh, I think you need to come inside for this!'" the 23-time Grand Slam champion said.

"I just wanted to win"

Williams emphasized that her intention was never to play for money; her main motivation was her competitiveness. The American earned more than $95 million in on-court winnings and much more from deals and sponsorships with various brands throughout her career and even up to the present day.
"I never played for money. I played because I loved the sport. I wanted to be the best. I wanted to win. I didn't even know at the time if I wanted to be the best. I just wanted to win," she said.
"So, my tax guy, he would be like, 'You didn't get your money,' and I was like, 'You didn't get your money,' and I would be like, 'Oh, I didn't get that one in Zurich, I forgot that one in Moscow.' I was just playing to win, and if I didn't win, I was just not thinking. I was just so angry I wanted to just figure out a way to get better and win the next time."
Serena Williams with the 2014 US Open trophy
Williams touched on various topics and chose her most iconic outfit on the court: "One of the most iconic moments in tennis for me was when Andre Agassi wore jean shorts, and I was like, 'How do we do that?', 'How do I wear jeans on the court?'" she said. "I'll wear jeans on the court, and they were like, 'No, we're going to make it a fabric that actually works.' So that was my version, a modern version, of what Andre did."
Williams also talked about the inspiration she found in 9-time Grand Slam champion Monica Seles, recalling her on-court grunts: "So I grunt because growing up, I liked this tennis player named Monica Seles, and she grunts. She had this really cool grunt," Williams said, miming Seles' famed exhale for dramatic effect.
"I literally would grunt because of her, and then it just became natural. I guess it's a form of breathing. I grunt, playing golf now. It's like a part of my life. Other people, I don't know why, they say it's like relieving and exhaling air, and it's a different way to exhale air."
The former world No. 1 also ironically commented on how difficult it is to be completely honest in interviews since you can't always say what you want to say: "The things you want to say, that automatically pop up in your mind ... you can't say that," she said. "'You won 6-0, 6-0, how do you think your opponent played?' 'She played terrible, or else I wouldn't have won 0 and 0! But you can't say that. 'Oh, well, she played great; I just happened to be on today.' No, I was way better than her today!"
"'Why did you lose today, Serena?' Well, because I sucked! It wasn't my day. 'How do you feel about that?' I feel like punching myself! What do you mean 'how do I feel about that?'"

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