Serena Williams Reveals She Once Tried to Cash $1 Million Check at Drive-Thru ATM

During a new interview on 'Hot Ones,' the tennis pro insisted that she 'never played for money' but attempted to deposit the $1 million check she earned.

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Serena Williams attends the 2024 ESSENCE Black Women in Business Dinner
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Serena Williams shared a relatively relatable moment during her latest “Hot Ones” appearance. During the Thursday, July 4. episode of the famous series, the 42-year-old former tennis player revealed a hilarious slip-up she had while visiting a local ATM, as she tried to deposit a gigantic check that she earned from playing tennis.

“I never played for money,” Serena pointed out. “I played ’cause I loved the sport … I don’t even know if I wanted to play to be the best, I wanted to win.”

The check contained her first $1 million, but the 23-Grand Slam title winner noted that she “never really spent a lot of money” before she became a big-league athlete.

“So, my tax guy, he would be like, ‘You didn’t get your money?’ and I’d be like, ‘Oh, I didn’t get that one in Zurich,’ ‘Oh, I forgot that one in Moscow,'” Serena explained. “I was just playing to win, and if I didn’t win, I wasn’t thinking. I was just so angry, that I wanted to find a way to get better and win the next time.”

Upon receiving her first million-dollar payment, Serena recalled thinking, “OK, I’m gonna go deposit it.”

“I went through the drive-thru … and the guy was like, ‘Uh, I think you need to come inside for this,’ and I was like, ‘Oh, OK,'” she added.

The Serena Ventures founder — who shares daughters Olympia and Adira with husband Alexis Ohanian — formally retired from tennis in 2022. That year, she opened to Vogue about her decision to leave the sport.

“These days, if I have to choose between building my tennis résumé and building my family, I choose the latter,” Serena explained. “I definitely don’t want to be pregnant again as an athlete. I need to be two feet into tennis or two feet out.”

She continued, “In the last year, Alexis and I have been trying to have another child, and we recently got some information from my doctor that put my mind at ease and made me feel that whenever we’re ready, we can add to our family.”