Get All Access for $5/mo

Serena Williams Once Tried to Deposit a $1 Million Check at an ATM Drive-Thru: 'I Never Played for Money' The tennis legend recently appeared on an episode of "Hot Ones" with Sean Evans.

By Emily Rella Edited by Melissa Malamut

Key Takeaways

  • Serena Williams appeared on an episode of "Hot Ones" last week.
  • The tennis legend said she once tried to deposit a $1 million check into a drive-thru ATM before the teller told her to come inside the bank.
  • Williams' net worth is now an estimated $340 million.

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.

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Side Hustle

She Had Less Than $800 When She Started a Side Hustle — Then This Personal Advice From Tony Robbins Helped Her Make $45 Million

Cathryn Lavery built planner and conversation card deck company BestSelf Co. without any formal business education.

Business News

How Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang Transformed a Graphics Card Company Into an AI Giant: 'One of the Most Remarkable Business Pivots in History'

Here's how Nvidia pivoted its business to explore an emerging technology a decade in advance.

Business News

Want to Start a Business? Skip the MBA, Says Bestselling Author

Entrepreneur Josh Kaufman says that the average person with an idea can go from working a job to earning $10,000 a month running their own business — no MBA required.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.