Serena Williams Says Tiger Woods' Support 'Is One of the Main Reasons I'm Still Playing'

·2 min read

After her three-set victory against the second-ranked player in the world, Serena Williams is giving thanks to her friend Tiger Woods.

The tennis icon, 40, says having the legendary golfer, 46, in her corner — and in her player's box Wednesday night during her second-round US Open match versus Anett Kontaveit — made all the difference.

"Yeah, he's one of the reasons I'm here, one of the main reasons I'm still playing," the 23-time Grand Slam title winner said after the match of Woods. "So we talked a lot. He was really trying to get me motivated. There's a few people, but we were like, 'Okay, we can do this together,' you know?"

She continued, "It was good, because I didn't know what I wanted to do … was just lost, so many questions. When you can rely on someone like that, I mean — my goodness, he's Tiger Woods — it was really helpful to get clarity."

Mandatory Credit: Photo by John Minchillo/AP/Shutterstock (13354353iu) Tiger Woods tips his hat to the crowd during a match between Serena Williams, of the United States, and Anett Kontaveit, of Estonia, at the second round of the U.S. Open tennis championships, in New York US Open Tennis, New York, United States - 31 Aug 2022
Mandatory Credit: Photo by John Minchillo/AP/Shutterstock (13354353iu) Tiger Woods tips his hat to the crowd during a match between Serena Williams, of the United States, and Anett Kontaveit, of Estonia, at the second round of the U.S. Open tennis championships, in New York US Open Tennis, New York, United States - 31 Aug 2022

John Minchillo/AP/Shutterstock

The feeling was mutual for Woods, who tweeted his appreciation shortly after Williams' thrilling upset.

RELATED: Serena Williams Went to Tiger Woods to Ask If She Should Retire: 'I Needed His Advice'

"It was a privilege to watch greatness. Congrats @serenawilliams," he wrote.

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In her essay in the September issue of Vogue, the tennis star shared how she came to make her decision to "evolve" away from the sport, and said a conversation with Woods helped to give her direction.

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Serena Williams, Tiger Woods
Serena Williams, Tiger Woods

Stephane Cardinale/Corbis/Getty; Andrew Redington/Getty

"I said, 'I don't know what to do: I think I'm over it, but maybe I'm not over [tennis],' " Williams wrote. "He's Tiger, and he was adamant that I be a beast the same way he is! He said, 'Serena, what if you just gave it two weeks? You don't have to commit to anything. You just go out on the court every day for two weeks and give it your all and see what happens.' I said, 'All right, I think I can do that.' "

RELATED: Serena Williams Says She's 'Evolving Away from Tennis' After the 2022 U.S. Open

Williams wrote that she waited one month before taking Woods' advice and returning to the court, saying that it "felt magical to pick up a racket again."

Now, the magic continues to the third round, when Serena will face Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia on Friday night.

But first: The mom to 5-year-old Olympia takes the court with sister Venus, 42, Thursday night in their first-round doubles match at Arthur Ashe Stadium.