CNN interviewed Serena Williams when she was 9. Here’s what she said
In November 1994, Serena Williams was just a young girl on a little island off the coast of Africa. She stood outside her house, watching her father play a sport that had just entered the mainstream: tennis. She’d been playing it almost all her life. And suddenly she found herself in the eye of a storm—her body turned off and her brain turned on. Williams was in a coma for two weeks.
Serena Williams had to do everything on her own. “It was kind of hard for me to get out of bed,” she said in an interview with NBC News on Wednesday. “But I was there like, I am ready for this. I was strong and I knew who I was.”
Even so, Serena Williams had to take matters into her own hands. “She was extremely independent. She had to make her own decisions on who to choose to be friends with and what she wanted to do,” says her mother, Kerry Bradley. And that was important because when Serena was growing up, “you didn’t always get what you wanted.”
Williams became a world champion at a young age, and won in her twenties. She played on the Grand Slam tennis circuit and won 16 Grand Slam events as a teenager (including Wimbledon). She went overseas to pursue more titles and to gain more of the spotlight. She left the sport when she was 19 and, she said Wednesday, “I was on my own.”
But Serena Williams’ story doesn’t have one clear ending. Her body would come back, and she still would find herself suddenly in a hospital bed. She would recover and then have a setback. She would be back. Then again. And again.
The first setback was in 2010, when she was diagnosed with uterine cancer following a regular checkup. After three years of chemotherapy, she was finally able to return to the tennis circuit, and it seemed like she had found a solid ending to this long, strange story.
But things didn’t work out that way. By 2011