Serena Williams made her return to the Grand Slam world at the French Open on Tuesday.
The tennis star won her first major match back since giving birth to baby Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. about nine months ago. Williams and husband Alexis Ohanian actually welcomed their daughter during the 2017 US Open in September.
To win her match on Tuesday, Williams defeated Kristýna Plíšková in straight sets, 7-6 (7-4) 6-4. Before watching Williams hit the court on Tuesday, Reddit co-founder Ohanian paid tribute to his wife in a touching post on Instagram, announcing to his social media followers that “the queen is back.”
“After news of our engagement broke, a young man in Kentucky named Jarod reached out with congratulations and also a request for a dear family friend, Denise (aka, his ‘Nee Nee’),” Ohanian shared. “He wrote, ‘I grew up watching tennis with my Mom’s best friend and why I consider you my all time favorite athlete. She watches every single tennis match she possibly can, scheduling her limited vacation times around tournaments just to be able to watch every match. She dropped out of high school almost 35 years ago to support her family and works 70+ hours a week, sacrificing her health and free time to support them… Just this month she lost her dad to a heart attack and her sister to pneumonia. I just got home from her sisters funeral an hour ago. As you can guess it has been an awful Christmas season for her. Is there any way you could either send her a card or tennis ball to cheer her up?'”
Ohanian continued, “I’m grateful for all the people around the world who adore my wife; the world. This particular story moved all the people who upvoted it, but also us. After she won the Australian Open in 2017, Serena signed one of her practice balls for ‘Nee Nee’ and I mailed it out. Jarod recorded a video of the surprise last year and said it was OK for me to share it today.”
Along with the video and Jarod’s message, Ohanian shared with his social media followers, “Today, Serena is going back to work at her first Grand Slam since Junior was born and our family is thrilled & proud to cheer her on with all of you—most certainly you, ‘Nee Nee.’ The Queen is back.”