HBO’s Being Serena
January 2017, Australia. It’s the battle of the Williams sisters as they duke it out in the Australian Open finals. Sister against sister. Venus V Serena. Serena would go on to win the title without dropping a single set. She would later announce her pregnancy.
Being Serena is a compelling look into the life of Serena Williams, the greatest tennis player in the world. The 5-part documentary screened on HBO and takes us behind the scenes as she wins Australia and charts her pregnancy, taking us right through to her comeback at the French Open last month.
The first episode sees Williams open up about her fears and insecurities as she faces the unknown – pregnancy and motherhood.
Complicating matters is the tennis legend suffering a pulmonary embolism shortly after giving birth. Williams penned an open-letter on CNN talking about the global importance of women and post-natal childbirth. If she were in any other country, Williams would not have received the medical treatment she needed and would have died. We watch the ordeal as Williams has to advocate for herself, knowing all is not right with her health. Her insistence ends up saving her life.
The documentary offers up her vulnerable side, a side we don’t get to see on her social media. It offers a look into her marriage with Alexis Ohanian. “Serena just has another gear she can shift into, both physically and mentally. I think that’s why she’s been so successful.” He says of her after she wins the Australian Open.
There’s something rewarding, thrilling and inspiring in watching the world’s greatest female athlete determination to return to the court. The detailed chronicle of getting back into shape and getting back onto the court, show the drive of a woman who wants to be the best. The best athlete. The best wife. The best mother. HBO has given us a series that shows us what it takes to be a woman, but also the greatest athlete in the world.