Serena Williams is a big hit and beloved on the court. She has won tennis tournaments around the globe – the US Open (1999, 2002), Australian Open (2001, 2003, 2005), French Open (1999, 2002), Italian Open (2002) and China Open (2004). She even managed to break away from the tennis scene with a reality show called Venus & Serena: For Real, that aired in the summer of 2005 on ABC Family. While pursuing her tennis career, this svelte star also earned a degree in fashion design from Fort Lauderdale Art Institute and designed Nike and Puma tennis wear. In 2004, she broke out of the sporty and into the sexy with Aneres (her first name spelled backwards), her sexy fashion line that is sold at boutiques in Los Angeles and Miami and is now breaking out in department stores and online.
With an innate passion to play, Williams got her start at five-and-a-half on neighborhood courts in Compton, California. Only eleven years later in 1998, she turned pro and gained six championships the following year. And in 2002, she was ranked the number one female tennis professional in the world. Williams’ most recent title was champion of the Australian Open in 2005, which became her third championship at this event. Aside from the many tournaments that she and her older sister Venus have attended, the dynamic duo even have their own tennis tour – The Williams Sisters Tour – which hits up three big cities each year. And while she’s been suffering from a knee injury, we all hope to see her return this summer!
Wendy Diamond and Lucky chatted with Serena Williams about her other passion in life – her dogs. She brags about her precious pups and the adventures she has with them off the court.
WD: So Serena, we know about your tennis career. Now fill us in on your dogs! Where did you get them?
SW: Well, I have three dogs now. First, I had two for the longest time, and now I just got another puppy two weeks ago. I shouldn’t have done this, but I got it from a pet store. I was just walking by and really wanted another dog. I always wanted a Maltese and I saw her. She just had the best personality! It was between her and a Jack Russell, but I already have a Jack Russell and wanted a smaller dog. I just love animals. I always think how when I get older I’m going to live on a farm and have fifty dogs! I love dogs.
WD:Your dogs have unique names – will you elaborate?
SW: Well the Maltese’s name is Laurelei, because I’m a huge fan of Marilyn Monroe. One of my favorite movies of hers was, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” and her character’s name is Laurelei. What else…My Jack Russell’s name is Baila Jackie. When I’m angry at her, I’ll call her Baila, but I call her Jackie the most. On papers, her full name is Baila Jackie Pete Williams; Baila means “to dance” in Spanish and Jackie is because she’s a Jack Russell. And Pete is because when I bought her, I was a huge Pete Sampras fan. He’s like my favorite tennis player ever. I also have a Pit-bull, whose name is Dutch, because I got him around when I went to the Sydney Olympics and I fell in love with this Dutch swimmer. Since the swimmer’s name is Peter Van den Hoogenbrand, his full name is Dutch Bambi Van den Hoogenbrand. Bambi because she’s a blue-nosed Pit, and that’s what my boyfriend at the time named him.
WD: If you only have three dogs, who are the other two running around?
SW: They’re my mom’s dogs. The Chihuahua is Rocky I got my Maltese because my mom wouldn’t let me adopt him. I love him so much. He’s such a sweet little boy. I love him to death. The other one’s my mom’s Maltese, Marsha.
WD: Your fashion line has taken off. Are you doing a line for pets? Could there be a line for pets in the future?
SW: I mean, it would be cool. But I’m not. My dogs don’t like to wear clothes. Every time I try to buy Jackie something, she refuses to wear it. My Pit-bull never seemed to like clothes either. I haven’t tried Laurelei yet, because I just got her. I think I’ll stick to people clothes for now.
WD: We know how much time you spend on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Do you ever bring your dogs along?
SW: Sometimes Jackie travels with me everywhere. But she hates tennis, so she has a lot of babysitters. Whenever I get a ball, she runs away from it. But she understands that Mom has to play tennis in order to keep food in her bowl.
WD: What was the funniest incident that happened when traveling with Jackie?
SW: She got me kicked out of this really big hotel once. She has anxiety when I leave and was sitting in the room crying. They told me I had to leave, because she wouldn’t stop screaming. We want to go to the Dog Whisperer and see if he can help her, because this has happened at numerous hotels.
WD: Since your dogs can’t hit the tennis ball or volley, what do they do for exercise?
SW: Jackie loves to go walking. One time we walked from my apartment on Wilshire Blvd to practically the beach. She can exercise for hours without getting tired, so I take her running with me. Bambi, on the other hand, hates exercise. He walks down to the end of the street, sits down, and won’t move. I literally have to drag him or pick him up because he gets so tired. He’s out of shape. He just had knee surgery too, and so he’s struggling a little bit. But he’ll run around sometimes with Jackie.
WD: You’re single, so what type of breed of man are you looking for?
SW: A Pit-bull, because they’re so strong. Like my Pit-bull has so many muscles, and I love a guy that’s big and that has a lot of muscles and stuff. I just think that’s real sexy. And he would be just like my Pit-bull – very fierce to others but really nice to me.
WD: You’ve made it really big on the tennis court. Do you think there’s future stardom for any of your dogs?
SW: Yes, Jackie of course! She’s definitely the star of the family though. She once saved my mom’s Maltese from drowning. We were all out by the pool. Marsha was playing with Jackie and when she went to get out, she couldn’t climb up the steps, because she’s so small. Every time she tried to put her paw down, she’d go under! I wasn’t paying attention, because I thought they were playing, until Jackie bit Marsha on the back of her neck. I was about to yell at her until I realized that she was helping Marsha get out of the pool. She’s the best dog. I love her.
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