By Cailey Rizzo
August 29, 2018
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

If Serena Williams doesn’t exercise before getting on a plane, you don’t have to, either.

Travel + Leisure spoke with the tennis champion at the Lotte New York Palace, where she was staying ahead of the U.S. Open.

One might expect that one of the world’s foremost tennis players has elaborate pre- and post-flight rituals, but Williams swears that isn’t true.

“I should exercise before a flight, but I don’t. I’m really bad,” Williams told T+L. “My pre-flight ritual is to sit in one place, move my legs, and then fall asleep.”

Williams prefers a window seat to avoid having to get up for other people, “plus, I lean on the window,” she said.

However, her travel routine has changed a bit since Williams became a mother last year. “Now that I’ve had Olympia, I have to run after her and make her sit down,” she said. “She has a lot of energy on the plane and flying with her is an experience. I don’t have any tricks yet, I’m still learning.”

In a recent Instagram post, Williams detailed just what flying with a child is like: “When I finally got her to calm down and sit still, she threw up all over me and in the aisle."  

When traveling on her own, comfort and sentimentality are key. The two things Williams said she always packs is a blanket gifted by her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, and a teddy bear named Max. “I’ve had Max for years, probably about eight years, so we’re really close,” Williams said. “I got him at Build-a-Bear. He’s already been restuffed and he probably needs another restuffing.”

Between the U.S. Open and adjusting to life as a new mother, Williams doesn’t have any elaborate vacation plans in the near future — although she did mention the Seychelles as the next place on her bucket list. Just don’t expect to see her stretching out in the aisles on her flight over.

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