“Probably ‘Work’ by Rihanna,” said Serena Williams when asked what’s her favorite song to dance to right now.
The tennis star was in New York on Monday night to celebrate the world premiere of her original documentary, “Serena,” which will air on Epix on June 22 at 8 p.m. EST.
Thanks to social media — she likes to twerk and milly rock on her Snapchat — and her cameo in Beyoncé’s “Sorry” video, the world has seen the tennis star dancing a lot lately. Williams even holds a private dance competition each year with her sister Venus called the Williams Invitational.
According to Ryan White, who directed the documentary, this might seem surprising to the public because of her intense on-court persona, but off the court she’s very different.
“I don’t feel like you get a really good sense of who Serena is through the press at all. You get the tennis player. You get the fierceness,” said White during a Q&A after the Cinema Society screening with Williams, which was moderated by Gayle King. “But what I realized right away is that there is a completely different Serena off the court that’s almost polar opposite from what you would expect. She’s youthful. She’s infectious. There’s a lot of fun in Serena’s life.”
White attempted to capture that in the documentary, which depicts Williams’ monumental gains in 2015 — she won four Grand Slam tournaments in a row — and her upsetting loss — Roberta Vinci defeated her at the U.S. Open, ending her chances of making history by completing the calendar Grand Slam.
“Every morning I wake up and I am supposed to win every single match, every single day for the rest of my life and I don’t know anyone who has had that [pressure],” said Williams, who had to endure another upset this month when she lost the French Open final to Garbiñe Muguruza.
But her mood Monday night seemed upbeat and eager for the next tournament.
“I’m feeling good, and I wasn’t feeling good before, but I posted something a few days ago really open and really candid and simply said I was pissed,” Williams told the audience, which included Vera Wang, Karlie Kloss and Tommy Hilfiger. “Then I had an incredible conversation with Patrick [Mouratoglou, her coach] and we talked really deeply for a long time about a lot of things. Then I went on the court and felt totally different. I feel so much stronger and I haven’t felt like that in a long time. So I’m just really excited.”
The night ended with an after party at The Top of the Standard. Williams changed from her glittery gold dress into a white crop top and black skinny pants and partied alongside Iggy Azalea, Petra Nemcova and Carol Alt.