Serena Williams opens up on life after tennis and new children’s book ‘The Adventures of Qai Qai’

ABC News

(NEW YORK) — Serena Williams is opening up about how she is moving forward after the final match of her historic career at the U.S. Open earlier this month.

The tennis legend appeared on Good Morning America Wednesday and said “it hasn’t quite sunk in yet.”

“I’ve been so busy literally every day — except for the first two days I literally slept all day — but otherwise, it’s just like, OK, I’m still running a business, still have my company … still a mom,” she shared.

Reflecting on what was likely her final tennis match at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, she added, “I couldn’t have asked for anything more and it was — I’ll never forget those moments, you know, it was pretty awesome.”

When asked about her sister, fellow tennis star Venus Williams, trying to persuade her to come back, Serena laughed.

“Because she’s not done yet — this is just me … she’s trying to get me and I’m like, ‘No listen,’ ” she said.

“I mean you never know,” she added. “… You know, I think Tom Brady started a really cool trend … and the way he did it, huge.”

Brady, the quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, announced his retirement from the NFL on Feb. 1 but reversed that decision six weeks later on March 13.

Regardless of whether or not she decides to ever return to tennis professionally, Williams said she’ll always be involved in the game to some extent.

“I feel like tennis has given me so much, and I feel like there’s no way that I don’t want to be involved in tennis somehow in the future,” she said. “I don’t know what that involvement is yet, but I do know that I love the sport so much. I love the game. I love everything about it and it’s just been such a light in my life that I definitely want to keep something involved in there.”

For now, Williams is focusing on is her new children’s book, The Adventures of Qai Qai, which debuts Sept. 27.

Longtime fans may already know that Williams created the popular Qai Qai Instagram account for her daughter’s favorite doll in 2018. Speaking about the inspiration for the book on Wednesday, she explained that she came up with the idea “during COVID, and this particular book of Qai Qai is really just about using her imagination because kids have such an amazing imagination.”

“We just wanted to really just put in people’s minds that we can’t forget how important it is to just use your imagination and play and also believe in yourself,” Williams said. “So there’s some really cool hidden messages in there about self-confidence and that you can do it and also just going back to the art of just being a kid.”

The book’s illustrations were created by artist Yesenia Moises. Williams said she had a specific vision in mind for the book’s art.

“When I saw the illustration, I said, listen, I really want it to represent a Black girl because I thought it was really important — the reason Qai Qai came [about was] because I was looking for a Black doll and I just wanted it to be something really authentic that represented who we are — our hair and like everything and the texture. And I thought she did a wonderful job with getting that across, even with the mom and the dad.”

“Olympia thinks it’s her in the book,” she added with a laugh. “And she thinks the dad is my husband and it’s quite funny because I’m like, it’s not us although it’s heavily [inspired]. I don’t want it to go to her head!”

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