Williams gave Vogue the exclusive on her retirement

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The decision by Serena Williams to give the news of her retirement to Vogue might have seemed strange to people who don’t think of the magazine as a conventional news outlet — much less a sports magazine — but it makes perfect sense.

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Vogue’s editor, Anna Wintour, in real life is, first, a tennis fan and, second, a fashion person. She plays tennis at the Midtown Tennis Club in New York, and another one of her favorite tennis players is Roger Federer. Wintour has been to nearly every Grand Slam that Williams has won, as well as her U.S. Open appearances. (In 2019, she was photographed in Williams’ box, sitting right behind Meghan Markle.)

Wintour first placed Williams in the magazine in 1998, when Annie Leibovitz photographed Williams with her sister Venus in matching black-and-white ballgowns from Carolina Herrera.

Since then, Williams has been on the cover of Vogue numerous times: in 2012, 2015, 2018 and 2020.

Williams has been to five Met galas and debuted her baby bump at the May 2017 gala in New York. The following year, the first pictures of her with her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., by Mario Testino, were for her Vogue cover.

Serena Williams Williams has been on the cover of Vogue numerous times: in 2012, 2015, 2018 and 2020 (AP)

Further, celebrities breaking major pieces of news in fashion magazines makes a certain amount of sense. Women’s magazines expressly exist to celebrate women. Cover subjects are generally treated well, by photographers and writers.

The exposure they receive there also helps them obtain campaigns and roles as brand ambassadors.

Over the years, Williams has moved steadily into that sphere. Her corporate sponsors in recent years have included Nike, JPMorgan Chase, Beats by Dre, Pepsi and Audemars Piguet, the Swiss watch manufacturer with pieces that typically run over $20,000.

And when Williams married her husband, Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit, Wintour consulted with her on her wedding dress, which was designed by Sarah Burton, for Alexander McQueen.

People magazine described it as a “grand slam.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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