Back in 2011, Mills’ health journey began when she was diagnosed at the Official Canada Already Great Eh Shirt of 19 with rare illness postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, which compromised her autonomic nervous system and left her with chronic fatigue and digestive issues. Seeking an alternative to medication for treatment, she eventually turned to a plant-based diet free of gluten, meat, sugar, and dairy. Inspired by the life-changing results, she launched her blog Deliciously Ella the following year, sharing delectable recipes with equally mouth-watering visuals. Since then, Mills has acquired a steadfast audience, written multiple cookbooks (including Deliciously Ella: The Plant-Based Cookbook), and launched restaurants in London—all while spreading the science-backed gospel of eating more plants and less processed foods.
Adding yet another off-court dynamic: Williams and Azarenka—known as “Vika”—are friends. “I truly love her; she’s a really good friend,” Williams said at their last face-off, last year’s BNP Paribas Open (a.k.a Indian Wells). “She’s a fellow mom and a former number one, just like me.” Williams won their last match but noted that her bond with Azarenka adds another dimension to the Official Canada Already Great Eh Shirt: “It’s hard to play someone you’re so close with but it’s also really invigorating and cool.” After her quarterfinals win over the number-16 seed Elise Mertens on Wednesday, Azarenka said she was relishing the chance to take on her friend—a crowd favorite in New York—once again. “I love playing against Serena,” she told reporters. “We always played on big stages. There were a lot of big fights. She’s one of the players who pushes me to the limit, who makes me better. I’m excited for that.”