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August 29 2014

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Serena Williams: “If Things Don’t Work Out, I Can Always Go Into Nails”

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Even in a room full of high-maintenance female editors, Serena Williams (above) was still probably among the most fashion-obsessed at the Nike 360 women’s fitness event last week. Back in the states from Roland Garros (earlier than she would have liked), Williams was there to talk about her new women’s Air Max Trainer One, a remake of the original Trainer One from 1987. Her edict for Nike’s designers? Let’s make a shoe that’s fashion. The resulting sneaker is mostly black—a nod to New York fashion, and the night matches of the U.S. Open—with a little nod to the tennis ball in flashes of acid green. (It also boasts a lightweight DiamondFLX sole that enables natural movement and mesh insets to keep your dainty dogs from overheating.) As if Williams’ star power wasn’t supernova enough, John McEnroe—the inspiration for the original cross-trainer—was on hand to emcee. The evening suggested his talk-show-host skills were severely underrated during his stint on TV. Below, a few choice bits (and one of our longtime questions, answered!) from the Williams/McEnroe match—of wits, of course.

McEnroe: [I wonder] if you could give my 14-year-old daughter, Anna, some advice. She’s got this thing about doing her nails. But I saw you talking about it on TV at the French [Open] and that gives me hope. Is this normal? Is this OK?
Williams: [Laughs.] When I was 14, I did my nails twice a day. Your daughter is fine. Maybe she’ll have a nail career. Like for me, if things don’t work out, I can always go do nails.

McEnroe: I know you love to wear jewelry when you play and I know it’s often quite large. Does that ever get in the way?
Williams: It does get in the way. One time I was at the net—one of the few times I come up to the net—and I hit a volley and my earring hit me in the eye and I couldn’t see. I eventually had to take them off. Now I practice in my jewelry before I play. You know, you’re on the court, you’re grunting, you’re sweating. It’s not your best look. So I just try to accessorize a bit.

Photo: Courtesy of Nike

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