Five places that made me: Serena Williams

COMPTON, LOS ANGELES

I grew up in Compton and it is this place that made me who I am. It made me tough, it made me appreciative and it made me Serena. I travelled there recently and it gave me inspiration. To know I grew up there and became a great tennis player was a really awesome feeling.

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PARIS

I lived there for a few years and it gave me an amazing appreciation for European culture. I learnt to speak French and experienced the world from a different perspective. Paris gave me worldly experience.

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AFRICA

Africa brought me to my roots and changed me. After my first visit to Africa I started to win Grand Slam tournaments – it really changed something within. As an African American woman, my ancestors went through slavery where only the strong survived. From this I told myself there was no way I couldn't be great because my ancestors were so strong and so great – I knew I had this determination and strength within me.

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FLORIDA

Florida is my home and I like to call it my secret place. When I'm there I don't have to be anyone or worry about wearing make-up. I can get up to go anywhere and just be myself. When you travel a lot your home is where you feel comfortable and safe.

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ROME

Rome is one of my favourite cities in the world! It's such a magical place and I have so many wonderful memories there.

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See also: Twenty reasons to visit Rome

Serena Williams is the ambassador for the Berlei Sport AW17 Collection. See berlei.com.au

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