Serena Williams
Serena Williams salutes the crowd after her US Open exit AFP / COREY SIPKIN

Serena Williams may have been away from the professional tennis tour for a long time, but that has not taken the spotlight away from her. The mum-of-two continues to draw attention for her appearances and entrepreneurial endeavours, and now she has decided to use her platform to promote "self love" and "body positivity".

The tennis legend took to social media platform Instagram earlier this week to share a photo of herself in a white bikini, proudly showing off her post-partum body. Williams posted the photo on Monday, featuring herself and her second daughter, Adira Ohanian. It has to be noted that Williams gave birth just six months ago, meaning she is not yet back to her pre-pregnancy body.

Nevertheless, it is hard to miss the fact that Williams still has the enviable physique of a top athlete. The 42-year-old looks great, and mentioned in her caption that one does not need to be perfect to feel good about themself.

In the caption, she said: "Loving yourself is essential. I find that I have to remind myself of that self-love through all different stages in my life. Right now I love that my body is not picture perfect. I love that I smell like milk - that milk sustains Adira Ohanian."

Williams confirmed that she is breastfeeding her daughter, something which is a massive challenge in itself as can be confirmed by mothers around the world. She then went on to speak about how much her body has changed throughout her motherhood journey.

"I love getting to know a new version of my body. It is a change, but it's a change that has been well worth it. So start this week, knowing that you are loved, and that starts with you," she said.

While Williams sounds at peace and completely positive now, she admitted during an interview with Vogue back in 2020 that she had issues with body positivity throughout most of her life, including during her massively successful tennis career.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion had a strong built ever since she entered the professional circuit, and she also had a flashy fashion sense. It would be hard to believe that she was not confident and comfortable in her own skin through all those years, when she was seen as something of a fashion trailblazer on court.

Her revelation came at a time of her life when she was getting ready to move on to another chapter. She had married Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian back in 2017, and in the same year welcomed their first child, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.

At that time, she was not yet ready to give up tennis, and was back playing at the French Open in 2018. It was an amazing feat especially after she revealed that she had a very dangerous delivery. She had to deliver Olympia via an emergency C-section, and had to undergo another surgery due to blood clots in her lungs, a complication of the pregnancy.

It was a life-threatening birth, which makes it all the more meaningful that she had dared to have her second child. This time around, the birth went relatively smoothly. However, she still has a lot to deal with when it comes to bouncing back and dealing with post-partum depression.

Speaking of the state of depression that mothers experience after having babies, she told Harper's Bazaar: "I think people have to talk about it more because it's almost like the fourth trimester, it's part of the pregnancy. I remember one day, I couldn't find Olympia's bottle and I got so upset I started crying... because I wanted to be perfect for her."

Williams retired from professional tennis in 2022, and is now happily managing her business ventures and being part of a family of four.