23 Inspiring Serena Williams Quotes to Live By

On Being Her Own Role Model

“There weren’t a lot of role models for me to look up to [in the sport] and say, ‘Wow, I want to look like this!’… I kind of had to be that role and be that person … Venus and I started out being successful, continued to be successful, and we were also unapologetically ourselves. We were not afraid to wear braids. We weren’t afraid to be black in tennis. And that was different.”

— to Allure

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On Being Strong

“[…] Being strong is never easy. Not in this world we are living in…Standing up for yourself is not going to be easy, but it’s always eventually respected. Those are the people who’ve made a difference in this world, people that stand up for what’s right. If you look at history, those are the people that you really remember. And at the time, oh, my God, it seemed impossible.”

— to Allure

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On Why Young Women Should Play Sports

“Sport has literally changed my life. I’m here because of sport. It has given me a lot of confidence, a lot of courage, and a lot of discipline. It’s helped me to be the person that I’ve grown to be today.”

— at the Nike “Queens of the Future” event

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On Investing in Yourself

“I invested in myself, then ran with it. If you believe in something but you’re not willing to invest your own time or money, why would someone else want to invest in it?”

— to Allure

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On Bouncing Back

“Catsuit anyone? For all the moms out there who had a tough recovery from pregnancy—here you go. If I can do it, so can you. Love you all!!”

— on Instagram

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On Living Regret-Free

“I don’t have regrets. I don’t live in the past. I live in the present and learn not to make the same mistakes in the future.”

– to Fitness Magazine

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On Being a Body Image Role Model

“I love my body, and I would never change anything about it. I’m not asking you to like my body. I’m just asking you to let me be me. Because I’m going to influence a girl who does look like me, and I want her to feel good about herself.”

– to Self

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On What Makes a Champion

“I really think a champion is defined not by their wins but by how they can recover when they fall. I have fallen several times. Each time I just get up and dust myself off and I pray, and I’m able to do better or I’m able to get back to the level that I want to be on.”

– to The National

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On Her Competitive Spirit

“This is my blood. I live for this and have for the last 32 years. When I step out on that court, you’re going to get all of me. It’s always been, like, bring it on – and more.”

– during a panel for her documentary Serena

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On What Being the Greatest Means to Her

“I try to be the best that I can be every day. I have bad days. I had a bad day the other day. I hit for only, like, 30 minutes, and I stormed off the court. But that was the best I could do on that day. So am I the greatest? I don’t know. I’m the greatest that I can be.”

– to Glamour

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“It’s me, and I love me. I’ve learned to love me. I’ve been like this my whole life and I embrace me. I love how I look. I am a full woman and I’m strong, and I’m powerful, and I’m beautiful at the same time.” – on Good Morning America in 2015

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On Constantly Improving

“I’ll always think about what I could have done better. Could I have come up on the net? Been more consistent? It’s not anger. It’s analyzing: What can I do next time?”

– to Sports Illustrated

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On Womanhood

“The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up. Make sure you’re very courageous: be strong, be extremely kind and above all, be humble.”

– at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards

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On Learning from Loss

“I don’t like to lose – at anything… Yet I’ve grown most not from victories, but setbacks. If winning is God’s reward, then losing is how he teaches us… I don’t pray to win. Not that I don’t want to or try to. But I know now a loss can be a gift. A chance to grow. Losing has taught me to be a better winner and a better person, one who is always looking for opportunities to learn.”

– in Guideposts

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On Creating Opportunities for Others

“We have to be thankful, and we also have to be positive about it so the next black person can be No. 1 on that list. Maybe it was not meant to be me. Maybe it’s meant to be the next person to be amazing, and I’m just opening the door. Zina Garrison, Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe and Venus opened so many doors for me. I’m just opening the next door for the next person.'”

– to the New York Times

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On Body Confidence

“It took me a while to find the strength and the courage, to embrace … and to feel like I love my physique. It doesn’t matter what people say about you or how people feel. You have to love yourself, and when you love yourself it will manifest in everything that you do.”

– during a panel for her documentary Serena

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On Starting Out in the Tennis World as an Outsider

“As a black tennis player, I looked different. I sounded different. I dressed differently. I served differently. But when I stepped onto the court, I could compete with anyone.”

– to TIME

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On the Importance of Family

“Family’s first, and that’s what matters most. We realize that our love goes deeper than the tennis game.”

– in The Champions Comeback

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On Luck Versus Work

“Luck has nothing to do with it, because I have spent many, many hours, countless hours, on the court working for my one moment in time, not knowing when it would come.”

– to ESPN

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On Her Humble Beginnings

“Growing up I wasn’t the richest, but I had a rich family in spirit. Standing here with 19 championships is something I never thought would happen. I went on a court just with a ball and a racquet and with a hope.”

– in her 2015 acceptance speech at the Australian Open

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On Facing Racism

“I have said it once and I’ll say it again, this world has come so far but yet we have so much further to go. Yes, we have broken down so many barriers — however there are a plethora more to go. This or anything else will not stop me from pouring love, light and positivity into everything that I do. I will continue to take a lead and stand up for what’s right.”

– on Instagram in 2017

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On Being a Black Female Athlete

“I play for me, but I also play and represent something much greater than me. I embrace that. I love that. I want that. So ultimately, when I am out there on the court, I am playing for me.”

– to the New York Times in 2015

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On Failure

“You can’t fail if you do something and it doesn’t work out. That’s success. Maybe it wasn’t to the point of success where you wanted to do it, but it’s still success. There were a lot of times where I wasn’t as successful as I wanted to be, but that doesn’t define me. It just defines how you can come back and not let anything hold you down.”

– to PEOPLE in 2016

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