Viewers See Vulnerable Serena Williams in 5-Part HBO Series - NECN

Viewers See Vulnerable Serena Williams in 5-Part HBO Series

The footage included scenes shot in the delivery room when Williams gave birth to her daughter on Sept. 1

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Viewers See Vulnerable Serena Williams in 5-Part HBO Series
    Kathy Willens/AP
    "Being Serena," airing on Wednesday nights starting this week, offers viewers a chance to feel as if they are getting to know the athlete better

    The first episode of "Being Serena," a five-part documentary series on HBO about Serena Williams, closes with the tennis great in a hospital bed, about to have a C-section.

    Just before the screen fades, a voiceover from Williams is heard: "I was terrified. And it was a whole new kind of fear. Tennis? I don't think it ever felt so far away. And I don't think my life ever felt so unsure."

    That is just one example of the images and words that show vulnerability the world is not accustomed to seeing — or hearing — from the owner of 23 Grand Slam singles championships, someone whose on-court game is built, at least in part, on intimidating power.

    "Being Serena," airing on Wednesday nights starting this week, offers viewers a chance to feel as if they are getting to know the athlete better. There is the footage, including in the delivery room when Williams gave birth to her daughter on Sept. 1. And there are interviews, including with Williams; her husband, Reddit co-founder Alex Ohanian; her tennis-playing sister, Venus; another sibling; their mother; and Williams' agent, Jill Smoller.

    'Late Night': Letterman Ordered Food as Wife Was in Labor

    [NATL] 'Late Night': David Letterman Ordered Chinese Food While His Wife Was in Labor

    Seth Meyers and David Letterman exchange stories about their kids, including a revelation from Letterman that he ordered Chinese food as his wife was in labor with their son. 

    (Published Thursday, May 24, 2018)

    The debut episode is titled "Fear." The other episode provided to reviewers is called "Strength."

    Those first two installments mainly focus on Williams' pregnancy, her difficult childbirth and her thoughts on motherhood.

    "There's no escaping the fear: The fear that I might not come back as strong as I was. The fear that I can't be both the best mother and the best tennis player in the world. I guess my only choice is to live and find out," Williams says at one point.

    She cries as she recounts the pulmonary embolism that made it hard for her to breathe shortly after her child was born.

    There are also lighthearted moments, such as this exchange:

    Ohanian: "What did you say when someone said that our little girl was going to win Wimbledon in, like, 15-20 years?"

    'Tonight’: Andy Cohen Talks Taylor Swift's Billboard Award

    [NATL] 'Tonight’: Andy Cohen’s Overreaction to Taylor Swift Billboard Award

    Andy Cohen explains his overreaction to Taylor Swift winning a Billboard Award and chats about Season 2 of "Love Connection," before Jimmy Fallon surprises him with a Doritos and Spaghetti-Os pie for his 50th birthday.

    (Published Thursday, May 24, 2018)

    Williams: "Not if I'm still on tour."

    Ohanian: "You're ridiculous."

    The second episode closes with Williams heading to the practice court, seven weeks after becoming a mom, ready to get her comeback to the tour started.

    "I was thinking that I could just feel it around. Just probably hit some groundstrokes and see if I still have it, you know? Or need to pursue a different career," Williams says with a chuckle.

    She won the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant and has not played in a major tournament since.

    Her next chance to take the Grand Slam stage could come at the French Open, which starts May 27.

    'Late Night': A Closer Look at ‘Spygate,' Cohen Partner

    [NATL] 'Late Night': A Closer Look at ‘Spygate,' Cohen Partner

    Seth Meyers takes a closer look at President Donald Trump openly interfering in the criminal investigation of his campaign by peddling a baseless conspiracy theory.

    (Published Thursday, May 24, 2018)

    "I have more tennis to play," Williams says in episode No. 2. "I have my life to live."