Serena Williams admits she’s ‘not OK’ — and that’s OK!

Twenty-three-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams took a much-needed moment for her mental health.

Serena Williams is reminding us it’s OK not to be OK. 

On Tuesday, the tennis champion and mother of two took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to express that she was struggling emotionally. 

Serena Williams, Serena Williams mental health, Black women's mental health, Black famous athletes, Black mothers, Black mental health,
Serena Williams attends the 2023 CFDA Fashion Awards at the American Museum of Natural History on Nov. 6, 2023, in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

“I am not OK today,” she began in the post. “And that’s OK to not be OK. No one is OK every single day.” 

She added, “If you are not OK today, I’m with you. There’s always tomorrow. Love you.”

The post was met with widespread support from fans and followers. Commiserating commenters thanked Williams, who has been open about her mental health struggles, including prior experience with postpartum depression, for always being open and urged her to look after herself. 

Later in the day, Williams followed up with a second post, a photo of her cuddling her newborn daughter Adira with the caption, “This makes me so happy.” 

Williams’ choice to cope by taking some time out with her daughter aligns with the 23-time Grand Slam champion’s previous statements on how she manages her mental health. In the August 2022 cover story of Selena Gomez’s Wondermind, Williams shared that she prioritizes taking a pause. 

“Mental fitness for me is just really learning to shut down,” she said. “You know, I did this years ago, before mental health was a topic on everyone’s mind.” 

She added, ”Now that I know that it is so important to put yourself first—especially mentally—I always have shutdown moments. I have serious boundaries, and I don’t let anyone cross those boundaries with my time.” 

Around the same time, Williams announced in Vogue’s September 2022 cover story that she was potentially evolving away from tennis and making way for other things in her life like Serena Ventures, her clothing line S by Serena, and expanding her family. 

While Williams has adopted the “shutdown” method, she admitted to Wondermind that she’s still learning how to master the coping strategy, and particularly prioritizing herself.

“I’m terrible at that! I’ve said it time and time again: I’m working on it,” she said. “But, more or less, at least prioritizing what I need to do, and then when I’m turned off, I’m turned off.”

Never miss a beat: Get our daily stories straight to your inbox with theGrio’s newsletter.