The Twitter mob — or, if you like, the Serena Williams social media support society — has a new target.

Chair umpire Carlos Ramos and Australian cartoonist Mark Knight can move aside, a female American journalist is now in the crosshairs.

Slate's Heather Schwedel has dared to venture where many wouldn't with a critical assessment of Williams' marriage to Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian, specifically their regular public displays of affection.

If you haven't followed the celebrity couple's journey since they were married last year, Ohanian is a big old smoothie who loves to let everyone know how much he loves his wife.


He erected a series of billboards celebrating the 23-time grand slam winner as the Greatest Mother of All Time on her return to tennis after a difficult first pregnancy and the birth of their daughter, Olympia.

He also whisked Williams off to Italy in August because she felt like Italian for dinner.

As Schwedel noted in her piece, most of these moments — and many others — are shared by the couple on their social media, leading her to ask: "What exactly are they trying to prove?"

"Williams has more money than she could ever need, and Ohanian has millions of his own," Schwedel wrote. "So why are they so intent on packaging their family life into social media — friendly morsels of content?

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She wanted Italian for dinner, so...

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"It's true that the work of building a brand is never done — maybe the more perfect Williams' personal life looks, the more endorsement dollars she'll be able to get Nike to cough up.

"Maybe Williams and Ohanian are hoping to burnish their public personas in preparation for whatever comes after tennis.

"Or maybe it's cynical to consider the financial upsides, and this is just what it looks like to fall in love and start a family with a fellow cajillionaire who just so happens to have built his fortune on the social internet. What makes this question so endlessly compelling is that we'll never really know."

Unsurprisingly, it went over like a lead balloon with many on social media.


Ohanian has also been publicly defending Williams in the wake of the US Open final.

He angrily hit out at a New York Times report that clashed with Williams' argument of unfair treatment towards female tennis players.

Williams was ultimately hit with a game penalty for a series of code violations — sparked by the moment she was reprimanded for receiving instructions from coach Patrick Mouratoglou during the final.

A statistical analysis of crime and punishment of male and female players at grand slam tournaments, published in the New York Times over the weekend, showed male players are actually punished much more frequently than their WTA Tour counterparts.

But Ohanian took exception to the study, slamming the publication's Christopher Clarey in another series of tweets.

Williams earlier spoke publicly for the first time since her famous US Open press conference, declaring she did not receive any coaching in an interview with The Sunday Project.

It came after Mouratoglou admitted after the final that he had coached Williams from the stands.

"I just don't understand," she said.

"If you're a female you should be able to do, even half, of what a guy can do.

"He said he made a motion. I don't understand what he was talking about. We've never had signals."