The mother in Serena Williams is helping her appreciate the precious parenting gifts she received as a daughter.
As she charges relentlessly towards the record-equalling 24th grand slam singles crown she so craves, Williams has recalled the greatest gift of all: her father’s love and devotion and iron will to ensure Serena and Venus became the most successful siblings in sport’s history.
Only now, after bringing her own daughter Alexis Olympia into the world two years ago, does Williams have a full perspective of the sacrifices her father and lifelong coach Richard made for her.
“My dad is amazing. I could never have done what he has done, not only with myself but with Venus,” the American told ESPN.
“It’s shocking and as a parent to do something every single day is very difficult – and I can’t do something with my daughter every single day.
“And I remember when we were young we went out and trained and practised and we didn’t miss a day.
“To have that discipline actually makes me look at myself as a player, as a parent and just really appreciate my dad so much more than I ever have in the past.
“It just makes me see it totally different and I love him to death and he’s watching all my matches and he’s probably already texting me right now saying ‘Serena, you need to do this a little more’.
“And I’m like ‘okay, Dad, I got this.”
Williams has also got another golden opportunity, perhaps her best yet, to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record number of singles slams in New York.
The only major champion left in the draw, the eighth seed plays world No.5 Elina Svitolina on Wednesday night for a place in the final for a 10th time at Flushing Meadows.
“It feels good. It feels like, okay, this is what I’ve been training for,” Williams said.
“This is how hard I’ve been working. It feels like, you know, hard work pays off when that happens.”
But the 37-year-old isn’t underestimating Svitolina, the 2018 season-ending champion who knocked the American superstar out of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
“That was a tough Olympics for me,” Williams said.
“Oh, man. Lost in doubles for the first time. Just really devastated about that doubles loss. Then obviously singles shortly after.
“She is obviously a fighter. She gets a lot of balls back. She doesn’t make a lot of mistakes.
“She’s one of those players that does everything really well. So I have to do everything well, too.”