Serena Williams has revealed her father backed out of walking her down the aisle at the last minute. Being Serena - Trailer
Serena Williams has revealed her father backed out of walking her down the aisle at the last minute. Being Serena - Trailer

Serena reveals dad backed out of wedding

SERENA Williams has revealed her father backed out of her wedding just an hour before the ceremony by text, refusing to give her away.

The tennis star decided to walk down the aisle by herself at her lavish fairytale-themed wedding to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, the father of her baby daughter, in New Orleans.

Williams, who is friends with Meghan Markle and is set to attend the royal wedding on Saturday, said in her new documentary Being Serena she was shocked to receive the text from her father.

After a bizarre chain of events, Ms Markle has now been forced to decide who will walk her down the aisle after her father Thomas Markle backed out of her wedding to Prince Harry.

It has been speculated that the former actress might, like her friend Serena, break royal protocol and go it alone.

With just an hour to go before Serena's wedding began, Richard Williams, who has coached his tennis star daughters since childhood, told Serena he didn't feel comfortable giving her away at the ceremony.

"He was in New Orleans, he had a suit, and I know he was really excited," Serena said in the documentary.

"But then he wrote me and said, 'Serena, I don't want you to be mad at me, but I just can't walk you down the aisle. I'm not myself anymore. I'm just too nervous.'"

Richard Williams texted his tennis star daughter an hour before her wedding to tell her he couldn’t cope with the pressure of walking her down the aisle.
Richard Williams texted his tennis star daughter an hour before her wedding to tell her he couldn’t cope with the pressure of walking her down the aisle.

 

But Serena said she wasn't angry with her father. Instead, she remained calm and was completely supportive of his decision.

The tennis legend, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, said she wrote back to her father, telling him it was "okay".

Serena Williams, with her father Richard at Wimbledon in 2000, remained calm despite the last-minute shock.
Serena Williams, with her father Richard at Wimbledon in 2000, remained calm despite the last-minute shock.

"Daddy, it's okay, if you don't want to come to the wedding at all, that's okay too," she wrote.

"I'm not going to be upset with you about it, so I don't want you to be upset about it."

Serena said some people may be surprised at her calm reaction, but she knows the struggles her dad - who suffered a stroke in 2016 - had been through over the last few years.

Serena said a lot of people "didn't get" her father when she and sister Venus first burst onto the tennis scene as children in the late 1980s.

 

Serena Williams in her comeback match after her maternity leave at the  Miami Open tennis tournament.
Serena Williams in her comeback match after her maternity leave at the Miami Open tennis tournament.

 

"If he doesn't want to be up there in front of a lot of people, I completely understand. Look, when we first came on the scene, there were a lot of people who didn't get him.

"I don't think a lot of them wanted to get him. I don't think a lot of him could have anyway. Our family knows what we have," Serena said.

 

"We just want each other to be happy. That's what matters. I don't think anything could ever change that."

 

Serena Williams loves being a mum to her adorable daughter Alexis Olympia.
Serena Williams loves being a mum to her adorable daughter Alexis Olympia.

 

Alexandra Macon, who covered the wedding for Vogue, said that Serena never said anything about that text or her father's absence -until now.

"I can only imagine how all over the place her emotions must have been, but she radiated a sense of calm, even when things went wrong," Macon wrote in a post on Vogue.com.

"Unbeknownst to me at the time, her father and longtime coach, Richard, texted her an hour before the wedding was supposed to start, saying that he didn't feel comfortable walking her down the aisle."


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