Serena Williams Once Tried to Deposit a $1 Million Check at an ATM Drive-Thru: 'I Never Played for Money'


Cashing a check can still be a pain, but drive-thru ATMs and banking apps have made the process much more seamless.

But if you’re the tennis legend Serena Williams—your paychecks might be a bit more than the ATM can handle.

Related: Serena Williams Launches a New Company That She’s Been Working on for 6 Years

The 23-time Grand Slam singles winner appeared on an episode of “Hot Ones” last week and talked about how her finances took a backseat to her love for the game. Evans asked Williams if a rumored story — that she once tried to cash a million-dollar check at an ATM but was denied at the drive-thru — was true. Williams said it was.

I never played for money. I played because I loved the sport, I wanted to be the best, I wanted to win,” Williams said. “I got my check and it was $1 million and I was like ‘Okay, I’m going to go deposit it’, I never really spent a lot of money … I just went through the drive-thru and the guy was like, ‘Uh, I think you need to come inside for this.'”

The tennis pro also said that, early in her career, she would often forget to pick up and cash checks.

″[He] would be like, ‘You didn’t get your money?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, I didn’t get that one in Zurich. I forgot that one in Moscow,'” Williams told Evans. “I was playing to win, and if I didn’t win, I wasn’t thinking. I was just so angry that I wanted to just figure out a way to get better and win the next time.”

The dedication to the game clearly paid off.

In her 27-year-long career, Williams, now 42, won 73 career singles titles and 23 career doubles titles and earned an estimated $94.8 million in prize money.

By 2022, it was estimated that Williams had earned hundreds of millions in sponsorships throughout her career with companies including Nike and Kraft Foods.

Williams also recently launched an active beauty brand called Wyn Beauty, which was six years in the making.

Per Forbes, Williams’ net worth is an estimated $340 million.



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