Serena Williams may be close to being a first-time mother, but that isn't stopping her from making plans to win more Grand Slams. In an encompassing interview with Vogue magazine, Williams talked about her future as a mother, how her race has impacted her, and an "outrageous plan" to win her second consecutive Australian Open title come January. Williams, who was on the cover of Vanity Fair last month posing nude with her baby bump, said that her appearance has affected how she's perceived.
"I'm not a model. I'm not the girl next door. But I'm not hiding," she said. "Actually, I look like a lot of women out there. The American people is many women, and I think it's important to speak to American women at a time when they need encouragement. And I'm not political, but I think everyone is worried, to a degree."
Williams said that she initially posed for Vanity Fair to be a role model. "The success of one woman should be the inspiration to another, and I'm always trying to inspire and motivate the black girls out there," she said.
Williams also talked about how race has shaped her public perception. Anyone surprised by Williams's activism likely hasn't been paying attention. She recently penned a letter in Forbes on the pay gap between black women and everyone else,
"I feel like people think I'm mean," she said. "Really tough and really mean and really street. I believe that the other girls in the locker room will say 'Serena's really nice.' But Maria Sharapova, who might not talk to anybody, might be perceived by the public as nicer. Why is that? Because I'm black and so I look mean? That's the society we live in. That's life. They say African-Americans have to be twice as good, especially women. I'm perfectly OK with having to be twice as good."
As for her career, Williams has plans to win another Grand Slam in the months following her pregnancy.
"It's the most outrageous plan," she said. "I just want to put that out there. That's, like, three months after I give birth. I'm not walking anything back, but I'm just saying it's pretty intense. In this game you can go dark fast. If I lose, and I lose again, it's like, she's done. Especially since I'm not 20 years old. I'll tell you this much: I won't win less. Either I win, or I don't play."
Williams also admitted that her pregnancy changed her career plan.
"It's hard to figure out what the end of your tennis career should look like," she said. "I used to think I'd want to retire when I have kids, but no. I'm definitely coming back. Walking out there and hearing the crowd, it may seem like nothing. But there's no better feeling in the world. Obviously, if I have a chance to go out there and catch up with Margaret [Court], I am not going to pass that up. If anything, this pregnancy has given me a new power."
Her reference to Court alludes to the fact that she is currently one Grand Slam title behind the tennis legend for the most all time. Williams has 23 Grand Slam wins behind Court's 24. As for Power, Williams expounded a bit on the idea of what power is to her.
"Not only me, but women in general sometimes feel that power is a bad word," she said. "As I've gotten older I've started to feel differently about it. Power is beauty. Strength is beauty. So now on the court I want people to think that I'm powerful."
Williams also mentioned herMcEnroe, who was criticized for comments saying that Williams wouldn't be in the top 700 on the men's tour, likely won't be getting his match with Williams any time soon.
"Why the fixation on me playing dudes?" she asked. "It's clear that men are stronger than women, and that's just science. I'm very content to play on the women's tour. John's unapologetic, he says what he thinks, and people respect that about him. God forbid I do it, though."
When she retires, Williams will be remembered as one of the best -- if not the best -- tennis players of all time. Her historic career won't be ending just yet. If she comes out in January and struggles, perhaps we may see the end of her storybook career. Williams, however, clearly has no intention of struggling. And with a career like hers, intention can determine everything, including the reality of if she'll dominate or not.