AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Tennis great and current world number 2 Serena Williams has welcomed in the New Year in the first global city to see the sun come up on 2017.
Williams is in Auckland, New Zealand, to compete at the ASB Classic tennis tournament but took some time out of her training schedule to explore the region's stunning natural playground on New Year's Eve.
Williams and her new fiancé, Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian, helicoptered to Waiheke Island in Auckland's Waitemata Harbour, to explore a private beach. Waiheke Island was named one of Lonely Planet's top 10 regions in the world in 2016, and Williams clearly enjoyed her short break.
"Waiheke is just so beautiful. To have a gorgeous island like this so close to the city is special, Auckland takes your breath away" says Serena Williams.
Williams has enjoyed plenty of Auckland's highlights since arriving Friday and encourages fans to make sure they visit the city.
"The scenery is beautiful, but there is also a great city vibe. The food has been so awesome, and I hear the shopping is really good too!"
Auckland is playing host to some of the sport's biggest names with Venus Williams also returning to compete in the first event on the global tennis calendar before they head off to the Australian Open.
The announcement of Serena Williams competing in Auckland led to tickets selling out for both women's sessions, the first time in the tournament's 61-year history that the women's weekend has sold out before the men's, proving that Williams is in fact one of the greatest athletes alive.