Tensions were high when tennis superstar Serena Williams lost to Naomi Osaka at the most recent women’s U.S. Open. Williams, the defending champion and a notoriously fierce competitor, naturally lost her cool after a string of questionable calls may have cost her the match. But afterword, the new mom spoke about how her daughter Alexis Olympia was a source of comfort in the moments following the highly contested and controversial game.
“I got in the car, and Olympia was in the car,” Williams said during an episode of the No Filter podcast three days after the match. “It was so weird. She started giving me kisses; she never gives me kisses. She doesn’t even know to give kisses, and she just grabbed me.”
Williams even joked afterword about how perceptive Alexis seemed to be in the moments following the match.
“I was like this little baby is so smart,” Williams said.
Interestingly, there may even be some scientific basis for what happened between Williams and her daughter. Babies actually start copying the facial expressions of the people they’re around before they can even recognize themselves in the mirror, and that’s just testament to how perceptive they are in general. Once a baby can actually use their limbs well enough, that perceptive nature gives them a natural inclination to comfort those in distress. Babies also have an uncanny sense of smell, and some research has suggested that there are actually chemical signals sent in sweat that project a person’s aggravated mind state.
At the end of the day, Williams simply said that it was hard to be negative around her daughter.
“It’s just hard to be too down when you have a little one … when you have someone to take care of,” she explained.