If you didn’t think Serena Williams was badass enough already, this will probably change your mind!
The 38-year-old is opening up about her silent battle with “debilitating, throbbing” migraine attacks, which she has struggled with since her twenties, and pushed through while playing tennis.
Speaking with People this week, the Olympian shared how she struggled with explaining to her father Richard Williams, her coach until 2012, why the sunlight during daily practices was nearly unbearable:
“Migraine isn’t a knee injury — it’s something you can’t physically see. You can’t really say, ‘Oh, Dad, I have a migraine. I’m going to stop playing.’ People are like, ‘I don’t see swelling. I don’t see bruising. Tough it out.’ I got used to playing through the pain.”
There have been “so many” matches where she has had to power through these intense attacks, like one in Sydney, Australia in 2001 where she lost to Martina Hingis:
“You can’t go into a press conference with the media asking, ‘Well, what happened?’ and say ‘Well I had a migraine attack.’ I had to figure out a way to work through it.”
For the most part, she’s been able to handle these attacks over the last few years because they have largely been infrequent, but when she went into quarantine with husband Alexis Ohanian and daughter Olympia earlier this year, things changed:
“It’s all incredibly stressful. I was dealing with a lot of stress and unknown factors and things that I wasn’t used to, and so I think that was contributing to my migraine attacks and making them more frequent.”
Over the past few months, she has had to juggle training and motherhood, which has been nothing short of “intense,” Serena added:
“It would be so intense with the baby all day long, and then, at night, I would have this long migraine.”
Williams has since been prescribed Ubrelvy, and recently signed on as a spokeswoman for the drug, to help relieve symptoms and pain associated with a migraine attack. That’s not the only change as of late, however! She’s preparing for the upcoming U.S. Open in the Big Apple, which will be played without fans due to COVID-19:
“I’ve always played with such a big crowd. Without fans, how will I do? I don’t even know. But I look at it as another experience. A wild experience.”
Wow. So much credit to this super woman!! Her high-stakes matches are already intense as it is, we can’t imagine doing it with a migraine, too.
[Image via WENN/Instar.]
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