Serena Williams is paying tribute to her mom’s strength as she embraces the first days of her new life as a parent.

The athlete – who delivered daughter Alexis Olympia on Sept. 1 – shared a personal, heartfelt letter to her mother, Oracene Price, to Reddit on Tuesday.

In the note, Williams told Price, “You are one of the strongest women I know.”

“I was looking at my daughter (OMG, yes, I have a daughter) and she has my arms and legs,” said Williams, 35. “My exact same strong, muscular, powerful, sensational arms and body. I don’t know how I would react if she has to go through what I’ve gone through since I was a 15 year old and even to this day.”

“I’ve been called man because I appeared outwardly strong,” said the tennis champion. “It has been said that I use drugs (No, I have always had far too much integrity to behave dishonestly in order to gain an advantage.) It has been said I don’t belong in Women’s sports — that I belong in Men’s — because I look stronger than many other women do. (No, I just work hard and I was born with this badass body and proud of it.)”

Wrote Williams, “But mom, I’m not sure how you did not go off on every single reporter, person, announcer and quite frankly, hater, who was too ignorant to understand the power of a black woman.”

The star told Price that she is “proud” that, together, they “were able to show them what some women look like.”

“We don’t all look the same,” she said. “We are curvy, strong, muscular, tall, small, just to name a few, and all the same: we are women and proud!”

Williams said that she hoped to be as “classy” as her mother, noting that she is “trying.” Wrote Williams, “I have a LONG way to go, but thank you.”

“Thank you for being the role model I needed to endure all the hardships that I now regard as a challenges — ones that I enjoy. I hope to teach my baby Alexis Olympia the same, and have the same fortitude you have had,” wrote Williams, concluding, “Promise me, Mom, that you will continue to help. I’m not sure if I am as meek and strong as you are yet. I hope to get there one day. I love you dearly.”

Source: Lindsay Kimble| People