Serena Williams On Achieving 'Greatness,' the U.S. Open & How Andre Agassi Is A Style Icon

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Serena Williams models her new NikeCourt Greatness Collection. Photo: Courtesy Nike

“They decided to call it Greatness and I was like, okay cool I love that,” laughs Serena Williams when describing her latest collaboration with Nike at the Standard Hotel earlier this week. “That’s what it’s all about.” The greatest tennis player of her generation all time was in town to fête the new offerings, which will be available to purchase tomorrow (August 27) and are comprised of two performance dresses (one for day and another for night) as well as three pairs of shoes (ranging in price from $160 to $200), and a bomber jacket that features an inspirational message hand-written by Williams herself. “When you think of greatness, you think of someone that’s great, but also a great person has to be positive and influence other people to be great,” she told Yahoo Style. “That’s what it’s all about — you can be powerful, strong, and beautiful all at the same time. It’s for everyone.”

At the event it was clear that the awestruck crowd reciprocated her message of positivity. John McEnroe was on hand to introduce Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Maria Sharapova for a casual set of doubles (we told you this event was major!), but it was the woman with 36 major single, doubles, and mixed double titles who received the loudest applause. Wearing her NikeCourt primer (the faux snakeskin “night look” that she’ll rock next week at the U.S. Open), Williams even managed to eek a grin out of typically stone-faced fashion editors like Anna Wintour who clearly were enjoying a front row perch that didn’t involve a runway.

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This hand-written message appears inside every bomber jacket. Photo: Courtesy Nike 

It’s fitting that that the fashion community was front row center considering that Williams is currently industry catnip. Not only is she on the cover of New York Magazine’s big Fall fashion issue, but she also has been indoctrinated into Taylor Swift’s “girl gang,” and is planning to introduce her latest collection for Serena Williams Signature Statement, her namesake line for HSN, on September 15. 

The fashion game is not new to Williams. She first began collaborating with Nike in 2004, when she boldly debuted a denim skort that was inspired by Andre Agassi circa the era when he looked more like a long lost member of Wham! (in stonewashed short shorts) rather than a top-seeded tennis player. The look remains one her favorites to this day. “That’s one of the first things I did with my Nike collection was we have to bring back the denim look,” she said. “It’s so iconic and no one has ever done it with actual breathing materials that you can play in.”

Expect to see the star (and rumored Drake paramour) model her Greatness Collection at the Open, a topic about which she is playfully coy. “You know, who knows?,” she says with a Cheshire cat grin when asked about the tournament. “I have to tell you that I was really excited to win the Serena Slam because that was winning four in a row, so now I’m not going for four in a row, I’m going for five. It’s a five in a row, and that’s not easy! Whatever, we’ll see what happens, I just feel like I’ll do the best that I can and if I win, amazing! And if I don’t, I’ll have to try again.” Spoken like a true champion. 

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One of the three sneakers available in the new Greatness Collection. Photo: Courtesy of Nike

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