Serena Williams hates surprises, but exceptions must be made when they come from Michael Jordan.
The NBA icon, who donned No. 23 throughout his career, sent the tennis star customized NikeCourt Flare AJ1 sneakers on Saturday after she won a record-setting 23rd Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.
While appearing on ESPN, Williams was presented a letter of congratulations along with a special package from a “very accomplished fan.”
“What is this, guys? I don’t like surprises,” Serena quipped before reading the letter live on the air.
“Winning is hard; it takes years of hard work, mental toughness and a willingness to accept the fact that you hate to lose,” she read aloud. “Congratulations, with much respect on winning No. 23. It will be a privilege to keep watching your determination on the court.”
Williams broke her tie with Steffi Graf for the Grand Slam title record after triumphing over her sister, Venus, earlier in the morning, 6-4, 6-4, at the Australian Open.
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“These are my shoes in my favorite colors,” Serena said. “Thank you, Michael. Thank you, Michael Jordan. I can’t believe I’m saying thank you to Michael Jordan.”
The Nike-sponsored athlete received the sneakers in red and black, as well as a pair in pink — her favorite color. She had the red-and-black style on ahead of the interview following the victory.
Emotions were running high for Serena, who embraced her sister, Venus, on the court while finance Alexis Ohanian watched from the crowd.