Serena Williams’ tears of grief

Williams paid tribute to the late Off-White designer, saying, “Your touch on the world will go on forever and I couldn’t be more grateful to have witnessed it.”

On the anniversary of her friend Virgil Abloh’s passing, Serena Williams is paying tribute to him.

One year after the late Off-White designer passed away from cancer in November of last year, at the age of 41, the tennis legend paid tribute to him on Monday.

Williams, 41, shared a nostalgic black-and-white snapshot of her and Abloh from a Nike campaign photo shoot on Instagram to express her sorrow over the passing of the influential fashion figure.

She captioned the photo, writing, “It’s been a year and I still can’t express the pain that I feel.” “I am so grateful to have seen it firsthand and worked with you because your influence on the world will endure forever. I still constantly miss you. Always and forever, @virgilabloh.”

Williams expressed her sadness for passing up the chance to wear one of Abloh’s most audacious creations—the initial boundary-pushing outfit he created for her to wear at the 2019 French Open—while chatting to Vogue in June for a video homage to Abloh.

Williams admitted at the time, “I still kind of regret not doing what Virgil instructed me to do. “He wanted me to enter the court wearing this long skirt with the outrageous train, a cloak with a train, and nothing else. Virgil, I appreciate fashion and I like pushing the limit, but I just don’t think I can pull this off.”

Williams chose to wear an Abloh-designed crop top, tennis skirt, and printed-cape jacket one year after donning a viral black Nike catsuit (which was later disallowed from the competition). The cape jacket was embroidered with the French words for mother, champion, queen, and goddess.

But she made sure to correct her error when she ran into Abloh shortly after the 2019 Open.

She remembered, “I was just not bold enough to go out there in all the red dirt, and just go out in this train, of like, a Met Gala at the French Open.”

Williams originally worked with Abloh in 2018 on a collection for Nike that was dedicated to the 23-time Grand Slam champion. Williams also wore a pair of Air Force 1s with Abloh designs at the 2019 Met Gala.

Williams joined Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Amber Valletta, and Helena Christensen in February, four months after the Off-White designer passed away, to walk the runway in the designer’s tribute during Paris Fashion Week.