Serena Williams’ recent health scares put life in a new perspective for the tennis champion.
“There’s times when I was in the hospital bed where I thought—I wasn’t even thinking about tennis—I was like thinking, ‘Wow. Life is so precious, and the only thing that really matters is your health. No amount of money, or no amount of championships can get you that,’” she told BBC.
Earlier this year, Serena entered the hospital with a cut on her foot.
“To this day, I don’t really know the full details of what happened. I was with my nephew and my hitting partner and we were just leaving a restaurant. I was walking and just felt something. I kept walking and it was definitely glass there. There was a massive puddle of blood. I ended up fainting and needed stitches in both feet,” she said.
While doctors addressed her feet, doctors recognized there were more serious issues. Eventually, Serena was then informed that she had several blood clots in both lungs.
“I was on my deathbed at one point—quite literally,” she said. “It got to the stage where it felt like I could hardly breathe. Some days I didn’t get out of bed at all. I just laid on a couch thinking, ‘why has this happened to me?’”
Initially, Serena didn’t realize the gravity of the situation, but having lived through the multiple surgeries, she is now grateful and inspired.
“This has given me a whole new perspective on life and my career—and not taking anything for granted. I’m just taking one day at a time. I’m not preparing for Wimbledon. I’m preparing for the rest of my career which begins today,” said Serena, who’s gearing up for her first matches since her hospitalization.
“I’m not quite sure how I’ll feel until I play a match,” she said while in England. “I’m just here to do the best I can, but I’m also here not to lose.”
—Tracy L. Scott