Serena And Alexis’ Courtship: Thirteen Things We Never Knew
Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian have been dominating their respective fields for years.
Serena continues to smash her competition and serve as the face of tennis. Alexis’ social news site, reddit, keeps taking over the world with nearly 550 million monthly users.
Despite living two completely separate lives, love once again proves it can conquer any and all differences. Amazing as their individual lives are, their marriage has proved to be every bit as fascinating in the strangest and most romantic ways.
With extreme personalities as different as these two, their relationship is anything but ordinary, especially the way they ended up falling for one another.
1. Not Her Type
It’s a wonder how two iconic social figures – the greatest female tennis player in the world, Serena Williams, and Reddit co-founder/Internet entrepreneur, Alexis Ohanian – from completely separate worlds found each other’s company.
The fact that they actually managed to hit it off and fall in love only makes it more incredible.
Considering how Serena has even professed that she has a very specific type of guy that she is NOT into (at least as far as long-term relationships goes), these two getting hitched is mind-blowing.
In an interview with The New York Times, Serena said, “I never thought I would marry a white guy.”
Talk about making a 180. It looks like there really is a first time for everything.
Serena and Alexis are super celebs at the forefront of their respective fields, which means all eyes are on their interracial relationship. There couldn’t be a more perfect couple to put a bright light on, in the name of progress.
Still, who’d have guessed that one of the people who would end up being most surprised that these two could fall in love would be actually be Serena?
As the old saying goes, you find love when you least expect it. No doubt about it, that’s exactly what happened here…
2. Rome Run-In
The way these two met was unplanned, to say the least.
In May 2015, Serena traveled to Italy to play in the Italian Open, staying in Rome’s gorgeous Cavalieri hotel. While she and some friends took in the scenic poolside view while enjoying a breakfast buffet, an uninvited guest decided to join.
As it turned out, Alexis was out on a business trip of his own to deliver a speech at the Festival of Media Global conference and happened to be staying in the same hotel.
Despite plenty of empty seats to choose from, he took the table right next to Serena and her friends.
Fate brought these two together on the same day, but even more impressive than Alexis posting up at the table right next to Serena’s is that she was even eating with her friends there in the first place.
Normally, Serena skips breakfast. So much for most important meal of the day, huh?
A combination of not having much to do before her first match of the tournament later that evening and her friends adamantly saying she NEEDS to try the Cavalieri’s phenomenal buffet is what landed Serena at the table. Then some stranger awkwardly sits right next to them.
The excuse they tried using to scare him away ended up doing the opposite…
3. Rat Attraction
Serena and her group understandably assumed this stranger was just another fan trying to see how close he could get to the tennis star.
“There’s a rat under your table!” They all chimed in shouting in hopes it would be able to scare the man off.
“Is there really a rat here?” Alexis asked nonchalantly, adding, “I’m from Brooklyn. I see rats all the time.”
The casual manner caught Serena so off guard, she actually found herself intrigued. It’s a weird fascination, but let’s be honest, we’d have been running off screaming without hesitation.
“You’re not afraid of rats?” she pressed.
Whoa. Cool as the other side of the pillow.
Just like that, Serena went from sketched out to fascinated. Who is this guy? There was only way to find out, so she invited him to pull up a chair and sit at her table, turning a chance encounter into a fascinating first impression.
As bizarre as it was that Alexis managed impress the world’s greatest tennis player by displaying his total lack of rat phobia, that was only the beginning.
When Alexis pulled up a chair into Serena’s circle of friends, it’s a miracle these two ever talked again…
4. Not a Fan
At first, Alexis was oblivious to the seat he’d settled on before it led to the whole rat fiasco, but he recalled being “98 percent sure” the woman asking if he’s really unafraid of rats was was the tennis star, Serena Williams.
That might make most other men insecure or starstruck, but not Alexis. In fact, it wasn’t a big deal to him at all.
While the Reddit mogul is a rabid basketball and football fan – Alexis even received multiple scholarship offers after starring as a center on his high school football team – he couldn’t have cared less about tennis.
Alexis told Vanity Fair that he had, “never watched a match on television or in real life. It was literally the sport – even if ESPN was announcing tennis updates – I would just zone out … I really had no respect for tennis.”
There was no mincing of words there, Alexis was less than impressed (to put it nicely) that he managed to score a seat next to Serena Williams.
While Alexis’ opinion on tennis seems like it would be more than enough to set this meet and greet up for failure, Serena’s thoughts on Ohanian’s work only made this situation juicier…
5. What’s Reddit?
After learning Alexis was in Rome to attend a tech conference, Serena asked who he was going to see talk. As it turned out, people were traveling from around the world to see him speak.
Could Alexis have possibly given any better of a first impression? Sheesh, talk about smooth.
Alexis explained to Serena that he’s the co-founder of the wildly popular social media aggregate, Reddit.
Serena was sitting at the same table as the creator of one of the most visited websites in the entire world… and it couldn’t have meant any less to her other than that this guy sounds like he can work his way around a computer.
Serena played it cool, telling Alexis she’d just been on his site earlier this morning.
In reality, she had no idea what the site was even used for. That probably didn’t make his follow-up question of what she likes about his website an easy thing to answer. 20/20 hindsight, right?
That was the best Serena could muster up for the reddit creator before her friend stepped in to save the day.
From all appearances, these two couldn’t have had any less in common – a guy who hates tennis and girl who’s clueless to Reddit – for this to work out.
Even though Serena was clueless as to what Reddit was all about, she did see an opportunity to get some insight on her website and pressed the Internet whiz about how she might be able improve it.
Alexis told her he could help (duh), and they exchanged numbers.
Talk about impressive.
Serena must be some type of smooth to get the creator of one of the world’s most popular websites ever to offer advice on a personal site.
She was so smooth she even got the man who hates tennis to accept an invite to her match later that night.
6. Web of Love
No doubt about it, Serena had captivated Alexis from the get-go, despite his total lack of enthusiasm for tennis.
Intrigued as he was by his famous new acquaintance, though, the reality was he had literally just gotten out of a serious relationship only weeks before this serendipitous encounter.
Alexis had been in a long-term relationship with girlfriend Sabriya Stukes, whom he’d met in college while she was getting her PhD in microbiology.
The brainy couple were together for roughly five years and even had a picture together on Alexis’ Instagram weeks before meeting Serena.
Yeah, the odds weren’t exactly stacked in their favor for anything to come of this.
Having ended such a serious relationship so recently, it’s easy to understand why Alexis really wasn’t thinking too much into how to score Serena’s digits.
Casual as he was in getting her number, Serena was far more impressed with how cool he was about a recent romance Serena had of her own.
While the two quickly fell head over heels in love with one another, there was one major hurdle to climb before the power couple could officially call it smooth sailing.
It had to do with French tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou, whom Serena had been training under the since 2012 …
It was revealed over time that tennis was not the only love they shared, as details came to light that she and Mouratoglou were secretly having their own romantic relationship.
Having built such a strong rapport with her coach over the years, she did not want to have to find another.
Although that romantic part of their relationship was over, it’d be hard to argue with any concerns Alexis might’ve had about her staying too close for comfort with her former lover.
Instead, the awkward conversation further proved to Serena that she had found the perfect man, as Alexis understood and accepted her desire to continue her professional relationship with Mouratoglou.
7. Secrets Secrets
Even though Serena’s not-so-subtle relationship with her tennis coach behind closed doors turned into an open secret, it looks like practice makes perfect.
The power couple remained tight-lipped about their relationship, managing to keep it almost entirely under wraps for 15 months before announcing their engagement in December 2016.
Out of all that time they spent together, the only gossip on the new romance came from an Us Weekly piece in October 2015, which was more of a speculative scoop than any real dirt on the otherwise discreet couple.
How the guy who created a site that gets news before the news does managed to keep this out of the public eye is simply baffling.
Alexis did drop the occasional clue, prompting the public to do its best Sherlock Holmes impression, as he posted a number of pics on his Instagram showing him attending Serena’s tennis matches or watching her play on TV.
His clues were so easy to spot that we blindly passed right over them. That’s why he’s the genius.
Serena proved to be much more on point with her secret agent abilities, never revealing anything more than one IG post of the two in a group photo filled with friends.
It’s really quite impressive how sneaky she was concealing their relationship, considering her other mishap in keeping another secret…
8. Accidental Reveal
Just when it starts looking like Serena’s mastered the art of keeping her personal life private, she dropped the mother of all bombshells.
It all went down in April 2017, when Serena posted a photo of herself in a bathing suit to her official Snapchat account.
The snap of Serena’s side profile view left little to the imagination as to whether her new belly was in fact a baby bump. For the stingy scientists who really want to avoid assumptions and be 100 percent certain, the “20 weeks” caption effectively erased any remaining doubt.
Oh yeah, did we mention this was an accidental post?
Whoops. Surprise, everyone. Guess who’s pregnant!
Serena made up for barely having left a single footprint to show for the first year of her relationship’s existence by going right ahead and posting her most personal and private information imaginable for the entire world.
To be fair, Serena did end up being very candid while presenting at a TED Talk days after the post. She admitted that she and Alexis were planning on revealing her pregnancy in the coming days anyways.
Just play it cool. Nice.
We kid, we kid. There can only be so long a hold out before that baby bump reveals the news itself.
9. A Bag of Tests
Speaking of unexpected, the news that Serena was pregnant was just as big a shock to her and Alexis as it was the rest of us.
Leading up to the Australian Open in January 2017, Serena felt like something was off. She felt nauseous, and noticed other physical changes that kept her from performing to her full potential.
She expressed her concerns to a friend who was staying with her in Australia. Unlike Serena, her friend immediately connected the dots and suggested to Serena that she take a pregnancy test.
Serena scoffed at the “ridiculous” idea, saying there was no way that’s what was going on.
Nonetheless, Serena’s symptoms persisted. Like a true friend, the badgering to take a pregnancy test continued on until the stubborn tennis star eventually relented.
Even when Serena was given the pregnancy kit, she was just going to show her friend how ridiculous she was being.
Then the test was positive.
Refusing to believe she could really be pregnant, Serena set out to prove that first positive test was just a fluke. She came back with five tests and put each one to use to be absolutely certain this was really happening.
Pregnant. Pregnant. Pregnant. Pregnant. Pregnant. That’s six total. Like a set.
Call it a hunch, but another six tests would probably reveal similar results.
Talk about timing. Alexis had just proposed to Serena (Spoiler: She said yes) in December, not even a month before the big news.
Serena called her new fiancé, who was still back in the States, to tell him he needed to fly out for Melbourne sooner than expected.
When Alexis touched down in Australia, Serena didn’t even say a word. She just handed him a bag.
He opened the mystery bag to find six pregnancy tests. No need to put on the reading glasses to see what each one of these things said, Alexis didn’t need his genius to piece these six clues together. They were going to have a baby.
How romantic … as far as bags of peed-on sticks goes.
The craziest part of this unexpected pregnancy was what Serena was still able to do on the court.
After meeting with a doctor, it was determined the pregnancy was about three to four weeks along, meaning it was safe to still compete.
Not only did she compete in the Australian Open, she went on to win the entire tournament.
When she and Alexis returned home, another doctor visit revealed shocking news. The pregnancy was actually twice as far along as initially believed.
At roughly seven to eight weeks pregnant, Serena won seven matches in straight sets to capture one of the most prestigious titles in tennis.
10. Ratty Proposal
When you know you know, and after a whirlwind year with Serena, Alexis knew she was the one he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.
That big brain went to working planning out the perfect proposal. Once he hashed out all the details, the moment was sure to be an unforgettable one.
A flight out to Italy touched down in Rome where the couple found their way back to the Cavalieri hotel where they had first met.
Alexis took Serena out to the pool where rose petals led right up to the table where their serendipitous meeting occurred.
The best part of this beautiful trip down memory lane was what awaited the tennis pro at the table.
Everything looked beautiful. Alexis proved himself a true roman—
Wait, is that a rat on the table? Oh naaasty, that is totally a rat propped up next to the champagne bottle.
Okay, so obviously Alexis is smart enough to not top off this beautiful arrangement with a dead rat, but can we stop and think about how crazy having a plastic dish as the table’s crowning centerpiece is for a proposal?
Not quite crazy enough to scare off Serena, since she said yes.
11. Gold-worthy Engagement
That ratty proposal is about as Reddit-worthy as they come, but it was a different post that ended up stealing the show to tell Redditors around the world about the big news.
Just like Alexis paid special homage to Serena with the location and bit of (gross) nostalgia, the tennis star did the same for her new fiancé.
Serena made the big announcement on the site via the r/isaidyes subreddit.
The heartwarming post is complete with an Alexis version of the site’s alien logo, Snoo, proposing to a Snoo Serena.
Best of all, the bearded Alexis Snoo (Alexisnoo?) and Nike’d out Serena Snoo were made by the logo’s original artist.
The eponymously named OP (original poster), serenawilliams, has a username complete with a taco — her favorite — icon tacked on the end.
She even has a Verified GOAT label, in case any redditors were doubting this was truly posted by tennis royalty.
The Verified GOAT details in the comment below exactly how the special moment went down:
I came home / a little late
Someone had a bag packed for me / and a carriage awaited
Destination: Rome / to escort me to my very own “charming”
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
That post in a word? SWOON.
Did we mention that “original artist” who drew the Snoos just so happens to be Alexis Ohanian?
The Reddit co-founder commented below his then-future wife’s post, “And you made me the happiest man on the planet.”
He later added (thus the “Edit”), “you’re also a really cute Snoo. As I was drawing this for you, I thought, “our Snoos should go out on a date sometime.”
Ughhh, TRIPLE SWOON. There aren’t enough upvotes or golds in the world for this thread.
The only thing that could’ve made this thread any better is if -ROCC- wasn’t joking when they wrote, “Everyone on reddit is automatically invited.”
Speaking of gasp-worthy social media screen time…
12. Sacrilegious FaceTime
There was a whirlwind of moments in the brief time leading up to this power couple getting hitched, and one of the big ones looks like nothing on the surface.
In April 2016, Serena FaceTimed Alexis to wish him a happy birthday. That may sound pretty innocuous for most of us, except Serena is a Jehovah’s Witness.
By calling Alexis to give him some bday love, she actually went against her religion, as Jehovah’s Witnesses are not supposed to celebrate birthdays in any way.
Although Serena admits she does not strictly practice her religion, the act shouldn’t be taken lightly, considering she’s known to “thank Jehovah God” after scoring a big win.
13. Serena’s Inspiration
Helping lead the charge of cutting edge Internet innovation puts Alexis in a position that few in the world could empathize. We’re talking work out the wazoo.
Normally grinding harder than anyone, Alexis was blown away after seeing the level of commitment Serena brings on a daily basis to perfect her game.
Watching the level of work Serena puts into her daily routine to stay at the game blew Alexis away:
“I felt like a door had been opened to a person who made me want to be my best self … I find myself just wanting to be better by simply being around her because of the standard she holds,” he told Vanity Fair.
The more time Alexis has spent by Serena’s side, the more he has picked up her habits (and we mean that in the best of ways).
While he was spending much of his time using his brain in a more sedentary lifestyle, Alexis is now hitting the gym to exercise his body as much as his mind.
While these two lives are entirely separate from one another, it only goes to show that opposites attract and can even bring a bond closer and stronger together than ever.
As the old saying goes, a couple that gets fit together surfs Reddit together… or something like that.