Serena Williams says mom mode is why she didn’t want her daughter at her tennis matches

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ABC/Heidi Gutman

Serena Williams says the reason she’d rather her 5-year-old daughter, Olympia, stay home during her tennis matches was so she wouldn’t be distracted. 

She means it in a loving way, of course, afraid that she’d naturally hop into mom mode if her daughter was present and might worry about what was happening off the court versus on it. 

“Well, I just was worried I’d get distracted because I would be like, ‘Wait, is she drinking? Is she doing this?'” Williams explains to host Drew Barrymore in a clip from The Drew Barrymore Show.

“She came to a match once, like super brief, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, is she wearing sun cream?’ It’s nuts. So, I would get stressed out and be like, ‘Wait a minute, oh my goodness, I’ve got to serve. This makes no sense.'”

The tennis legend says she didn’t have her daughter at matches until this summer, when Olympia rooted for her mama from the stands at what may have been Williams’ final U.S. Open.

The toddler paid homage to her mother by rocking her hair in braids with white beads, similar to how Williams had her hair styled when she won her first U.S. Open in 1999. Olympia also matched her mom’s outfit, wearing an all black Nike dress. 

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“Apparently she was saying like, ‘Go Mama, I’m so proud of you,’ and I was like, ‘What?’” Williams recalls to Barrymore.

“So then she comes back after I had lost in Cincinnati, she came back and she’s like, ‘It’s OK, Mama, you just have to do what you feel,’ and I literally wanted to cry. It was like, ‘Do what you feel. Do what your heart tells you.’ It was the sweetest thing ever,” Williams said.

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