Serena Williams Explains Why She Didn’t Mention Fiance In Australian Open Victory Speech

Serena Williams has spoken out explaining why she neglected to mention her new fiance, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian in her victory speech at the Australian Open. Williams, who defeated sister Venus in an 82-minute match at the tournament in Melbourne overnight, explained in a post match interview that she simply “forgot.”

“I always forget people. After 20, 30 years, I’m still forgetting. I like to keep it simple because in the past people get angry, people cry. I’m like, listen I’m only going to thank my coach, my hitter, my right-hand guy, (agent) Jill (Smoller).”

Serena Williams Fiance Speech

Following the win, which saw Williams overtake German player Steffi Graph’s former record of 22 grand slam wins, the star walked off the court with her trophy directly towards Ohanian and supermodel Karlie Kloss. During the interaction, which was caught on camera, Williams appears to chat briefly with Kloss while ignoring Ohanian and proceeding to thank others who have gathered in the room to congratulate her.

In her victory speech shortly after the match, Williams thanked her coach, several family members, her agent and the Australian Open tournament director while neglecting to mention Ohanian.

In an interview with ESPN shortly after, commentators Chris McKendry and Chris Evert called Williams out for the apparent oversight.

Williams shocked many when she announced the pair’s engagement via a post on Reddit shortly after Christmas. In the post, Williams accompanied a cartoon of Ohanian on one knee proposing with a poem that provides details on the proposal.

“I came home a little late, someone had a bag packed for me and a carriage awaited. Destination: Rome. Back to where our stars first collided. And now it was full circle. At the same table we first met by chance. This time he made it not by chance, but by choice. Down on one knee he said 4 words. And I said yes.”

Can't resist a strong shoe game #nike

A photo posted by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on

The two are notoriously private about their relationship, but are believed to have been dating since October 2015. Ohanian, who has been billed as Williams’s “biggest cheerleader,” has accompanied her on the tennis circuit through Australian and New Zealand since their engagement.

Serena Williams Australian Open Speech Alexis Ohanian

When asked by ESPN commentator Chris Evert if she thinks Ohanian’s presence at the cup had any impact on her performance, Williams was quick to deflect.

“I don’t think so; I just think I was really just calm about not being top dog gives me … something to strive for. Not that I didn’t have that motivation before, but it just makes me even hungrier.”

In post match interviews Williams seemed uninterested in discussing Ohanian, or the upcoming wedding, providing brief answers before quickly changing the topic.

“Bridesmaids, Venus and my sisters. A date, I don’t want to talk about it at all, in February.”

Williams instead seemed more interested in keeping the focus on the game, taking the time to congratulate sister Venus on her performance.

“I would really like to take this moment to congratulate Venus, she’s an amazing person. She’s my inspiration, she’s the only reason I am standing here today.”

The top is never lonely when your best friend @venuswilliams is there. Here's to #23. What a night for our family.

A photo posted by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on

Saturday’s match marks the first time Williams has faced off against her sister in a grand slam match since the pair met at Wimbledon in 2009. The win also sees Williams regain her top ranking spot, which she lost to Angelique Kerber at the 2016 U.S. Open. Sister Venus was ready to offer her congratulations after the match, walking across the court to hug a visibly exhausted Williams. Speaking with media after the match, Venus offered her congratulations to her sister.

“Serena Williams, that’s my little sister, guys. Congratulations Serena. I have been right there with you. Some of them I have lost right there against you. Your win has always been my win, you know that.”

[Featured Image by Kin Cheung/AP Images]