Serena Williams is one of the greatest tennis players of all time, having won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, racking up sponsorships and prize money, as well as being one of the highest-paid athletes in the world. Given Williams’ incredible skill not only as a tennis player, but as an athlete in general, many people may be wondering about her diet and whether or not Serena Williams is a vegan.
Serena Williams follows a mostly vegan diet. During the off-season, the tennis titan relaxes her diet to include protein and cheat day favorites, but while training and competing, Williams sticks to a plant-based diet.
Read more below about Serena Williams’ rise to the top of tennis, why she adopted a vegan diet, and what the powerhouse pro player eats during a normal day.
Childhood Prodigy to Tennis Titan
Serena Williams was born in Saginaw, Michigan, but spent her childhood in Compton, California, where she began playing tennis when she was 3-years old, following in the footsteps of her older sister, Venus. Several years later, the family relocated to Florida so both Serena and Venus could train with Rick Macci at his legendary tennis camp.
Serena Williams’ pro career started shortly after her fourteenth birthday in 1995. By the time the new millenium had rolled around, Williams had won the US Open, and just a few short years later during the 2002-2003 season, Williams would accomplish what is now known as the “Serena Slam,” winning all four major major tournaments, including Wimbledon.
In 2015, Williams made the cover of Sports Illustrated, and was named their Sportsperson of the Year. Both the cover and the distinction caused some controversy, with many claiming Serena’s cover shot was too sexy, but Sports Illustrated took to Twitter to defend the photo, writing, “The cover was Serena’s idea, to express her own ideal of femininity, strength and power.”
Since the first “Serena Slam,” Williams has continued to reign supreme on the tennis courts, winning numerous titles, starting her own fashion line, founding The Serena Williams Foundation, and finding success in her personal life. Williams welcomed a baby with Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, in 2017, and got married in a star-studded ceremony in New Orleans the same year.
Dedicated Diet and Future Plans
Given Williams dedication to tennis, in addition to training on the court, Serena follows an intense workout regimen and diet. Serena went vegan in 2012, prompted by her sister, Venus, being diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome.
Sjogren’s syndrome is an auto-immune disease, affecting the body’s saliva and tear glands, in addition to fatigue, muscle and joint pain. At the recommendation of her doctors, Venus adopted a raw vegan diet, which allowed her to continue playing tennis despite the effects of her disease.
Serena saw the success her sister had with a vegan diet and began the switch in her own life. Of the change, Williams told Bon Appetit, “I’ve been eating a lot healthier for my sister, so the cookbook has all these raw meals, green juices, and smoothies. For me, “green” used to mean “yuck.” But I’ve incorporated a lot of raw things in my diet this year.”
You can see Serena Williams discuss her career and her intense workout routine in the YouTube video below.
Despite the intensity of her diet and workout, in the off-season, Williams can be found enjoying guilty pleasures like tacos and beignets, sharing snaps of her dishes with fans on Instagram. However, Serena will be doubling down in the weeks to come as she plans to play in this summer’s U.S. Open, telling ESPN, “I really cannot wait to return in New York and play the US Open 2020.
I feel like the USTA is going to do a really good job of ensuring everything is amazing and everything is perfect and everyone is safe. It’s going to be exciting. It’s been over six months since a lot of us have played professional tennis.”
Serena Williams will go down in history as one of the greatest athletes of all time. Like most professional athletes, Williams knows best when it comes to her body, and she adopts the diet she needs to maintain her place on the court and keep up with the demands of her personal life.