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Serena Williams' secret to success: 'I never looked back'

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Serena Williams is a pioneer. At the age of 40, she has firmly cemented her name as one of the, if not the most, successful tennis players of all time.

She has won 23 Grand Slam titles, more than any other player in the Open Era, with The Women's Tennis Association ranking her No. 1 in the world eight times.

Throughout her nearly 27-year-career, she has revolutionised the sport with her iconic athletic frame, powerful style and record stats.

Serena Williams holds her daughter Alexis Olympia and a large trophy after defeating Jessica Pegula on day seven of the 2020 Women's ASB Classic in New Zealand.
Serena Williams holds her daughter Alexis Olympia after defeating Jessica Pegula on day seven of the 2020 Women's ASB Classic in New Zealand. Photo: Getty Images

She's also mother to a four-year-old girl.

To mark International Women’s Day, Serena has taken the opportunity to celebrate and empower women with Berlei's campaign, In Support of You.

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Supporting women every day

For more than 100 years, Berlei has been modernising bras, from redesigning the corset in 1926 to creating Australia’s first maternity bra in the 50s.

Berlei knows a bra "can’t fix the gender pay gap, get you the top job or help you become a pro tennis champion", but "it's just about just being there - adding a sense of strength and encouragement in the every day".

Their core message is: "A bra can’t change the world, but it can support you through it."

And it's a message that resonates deeply with Serena.

"My desire and my drive to be successful in what I do makes me realise that there’s nothing that’s going to hold me back,” the world tennis champion reveals.

“I need to feel my best on the court. An uncomfortable bra is the last thing that you want to be worried about while you’re playing."

Serena Williams in a black sports bra with fine gold chain necklaces in front of a wooden wardrobe.

In fact, Serena has been wearing Berlei bras for more than 15 years, after her mum, Oracene, discovered the brand on a shopping trip to Myer during the 2006 Australian Open in Melbourne.

"Once I found Berlei, I never looked back," Serena reveals.

"Their bras provide me with the support I need on, and off, the court.”

Like mother like daughter

While it was Serena's father, Richard, who notably quit his job to become a full-time coach for her and sister, Venus, it was their mother who picked up the pieces and supported the rest of the family, while also co-coaching her superstar children.

“She had to support seven people, as a family of seven,” Serena told Red Table Talk.

“To have that faith and to have that back-end support, we wouldn’t have survived without that.”

Honoree Wearing evening gowns, Serena Williams, right, sister Venus and their mother Oracene Price at the 2015 Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Ceremony in New York.
Honoree Serena Williams, right, sister Venus and their mother Oracene Price at the 2015 Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Ceremony in New York. Photo: D Dipasupil, FilmMagic

Venus, also a former world No. 1 in both singles and doubles tennis, attests to their mother's multi-layered support.

"My father soaked up the spotlight as a larger-than-life character who created two tennis phenoms, but it was my mother who was the backbone and driving force behind both him, Serena, and I," she says.

"She raised all of her daughters to be strong, confident, unrelentingly successful women, not just on the court, but in life as human beings.

"I’m forever grateful."

Shaping Serena

As world number one, with a career spanning nearly 30 years, Serena requires the utmost quality when it comes to her sportswear, especially sports bras.

That's why she's partnered with Berlei, who have been leading innovation in sports bras since the 1990s.

"No other sports bra compares," Serena says.

"Berlei is a brand that truly supports and celebrates real women of all shapes and sizes."

Serena Williams in black leggings and a black sports bra taking off a cream cardigan against a wooden wardrobe.

Her pick?

The Shift Non-Contour Bra, with a Support Factor rating of 4 (Extreme Impact), reduces breast bounce by up to 60%.

The adjustable straps help stabilise the bust, while its cotton-lined cups add extra comfort during exercise and the mesh back keeps you cool and dry.

Model's upper torso showing Berlei's Shift sports bra in black.
Berlei's Shift sports bra has a Support Factor rating of 4 (Extreme Impact), and reduces breast bounce by up to 60%. Source: Myer

A perfect bra for tennis, running, kick boxing or HIIT, you can also change the adjustable straps to make a halter neck or cross-over at the back.

Get yours now for $69.95 at Berlei or Myer and become your own biggest supporter.

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