Tennis legend Serena Williams turned 42 today. Williams is one of the greatest players of all time, with 23 Grand Slam titles to boast about. She has inspired many to take up the tennis racket and aim to be the best. But there is one aspect of her life that has befuddled her fans: why does Serena not celebrate her birthday?
The answer to this question lies in her faith- both Serena and her sister Venus Williams were raised as Jehova’s Witnesses. It is a subsect of Christianity, which believes in one God, instead of the holy Trinity. An important part of the belief for those who practice is, is not to celebrate birthdays.
The Williams sisters followed their mother, Oracene Price, and converted in the 80’s. Serena has always been open about what her faith means to her. “Being a Jehovah’s Witness is important to me, but I’ve never really practiced it and have been wanting to get into it,” she said in 2017 (via TennisUpToDate).
While Sarena may not celebrate her birthday, she still deserves to be cherished. She has accomplished a great many things in her career and paved the way for others to follow.
Williams won 23 major titles in her career, 6 of which she won without dropping a set. Serena has four Olympic Gold medals, representing the US. She spent 186 consecutive weeks as the world number one, tying with Steffi Graf.
Happy Birthday to Serena Williams 🎂🎈
• 23 Grand Slam Singles titles.
• 6 Grand Slam Singles titles won without dropping a set. (Tied with Martina Navratilova for the record)
• 33 Grand Slam Singles Finals.
• 4 Olympic Gold medals.
• 47 hardcourt titles (record).… pic.twitter.com/hcGRpqImuw
— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) September 26, 2023
What did Alexis Ohanian say about Serena Williams not celebrating birthdays?
Williams and Ohanian have been married since 2017 and have two daughters, with Olympia being the oldest. They recently welcomed their youngest, Adira River. However, the parents got dragged into a controversy when the news broke that they did not celebrate Olympia’s birthday.
Ohanian had shared a photo of Olympia, without including the words ‘Happy Birthday’. Fans took issue with it but Ohanian shut them down quickly.
“I’m not a Witness, but I considered how made up it all is: the purpose of celebrating a birthday is to celebrate life with the people who love you (and to eat cake). This baby is loved and will get to celebrate life with people who love her plenty of times, with plenty of parties (and eat cake – in moderation) throughout her life,” said Ohanian.
It is very obvious from Ohanian’s words that he loves his family, irrespective of birthday celebrations. Serena Williams may not celebrate today, but may she always be happy.