Serena Williams has been ranked number one six times in women’s singles tennis and won her first of 21 Grand Slams in 1999. From the court to endorsements, a clothing line, and a cameo in Lemonade, Williams continues to grow and get better at 34 years of age despite misconceptions that athletes are ‘over the hill’ once they hit 30.

tumblr_o8ewsjY9Ms1qd1yv1o1_400“Who says that your thirties is when you’re supposed to be done? I would like to know who made that rule! I was talking to my mom one time, like, ‘Gosh, I’m 30.’ And she’s like, ‘In your thirties you’re even stronger than in your twenties.’ I didn’t believe her, but I have played better in my thirties. And I played pretty well in my twenties, don’t get me wrong! But my consistency is better, my momentum is better, my wins are quicker,” the tennis champion told Glamour.

Her game isn’t the only thing getting better in her 30s. In 2009 she launched her Signature Statement Collection that included accessories and handbags, but today she’s expanded it into a full ready-to-wear line. The collection, which sells on HSN, is something Williams takes just as seriously as tennis.

“It’s definitely not something I just slap my name on…. My mom taught me how to sew when I was super young; I used to make clothes for my dolls. When I finally went to [fashion design] school [in 1999], I really took to pattern making. Everyone in class was good at something; I was the person, if you need help with your patterns, you come to me and I would help you out.”

With all of her accomplishments and media coverage you might expect the highest paid female athlete, who is worth a reported $145 million, to have at least a bit of an ego but in reality she is down to earth.

serena willaims glamour shoot“I never left my roots. You can identify me as someone that didn’t become high and mighty. Humility is a defining [trait] all of us can forever learn, and I try to be as humble as anyone can be.”

She means it when she says she never left her roots. Up until last month she was still living with her sister Venus and now lives across the street. Like her sister, she makes sure to give back.

“I never thought about leaving a tennis legacy. I always thought about leaving a legacy of fulfillment, living out your dreams, and giving back. I’m proud to have opened [two] schools in Africa and one in Jamaica [through the Serena Williams Fund and its partners]. I was given a lot. I was given two parents. That’s already starting above a lot of kids. And then I was given the opportunity to play tennis and parents who supported that. I feel I can give back.”

And yes, she talked about Drake too. A lot of people accused Drake of somehow being responsible for Williams’ U.S. Open loss last year but she is quick to shut down those rumours.

“I don’t think that was fair. I’m the one who’s playing, who’s making mistakes or making winners. I’m not one to blame anyone else for anything. And I don’t think anyone else should either. I played a really good opponent that day. And I wasn’t at my best.”

As for why they aren’t dating anymore, Williams leaves it a mystery.

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Image credit: Tumblr/divalocity, Tumblr/superselected, Tumblr/noir-aesthetics