Serena Williams prayed and ''cried a little bit'' when she stopped breastfeeding.

The 35-year-old tennis player - who has nine-month-old daughter Alexis Olympia with husband Alexis Ohanian - was initially reluctant to quit nursing her baby but eventually did so after a discussion with the tot.

She admitted: ''I literally sat Olympia in my arms, I talked to her, we prayed about it. I told her, 'Look, I'm going to stop. Mommy has to do this.'

''I cried a little bit not as much as I thought I would.''

Serena stuck to a strict diet after giving birth but was surprised she only started losing weight once she'd stopped nursing.

She told reporters: ''I was vegan, I didn't eat sugar.

''I was totally eating completely healthily... And I wasn't at the weight that I would have been had I not breastfed. What I've learned is that every body is different - no matter how much I worked out, it didn't work for me.

''So for me, it was interesting because all these articles, over pop culture, you hear, 'When you breast-feed, you lose weight, you're so thin.' That wasn't happening to me...

''It was the strangest thing. I just learned from that experience, every physical body is different.

''After [I stopped breastfeeding], like literally I lost 10 pounds in a week. It was crazy. I just kept dropping. I was like, that's when I learned that everything was different. Sorry to go on about that.

''I wanted to say that so women out there know that's not true. Everyone takes things different. I think it's important for us to share that message.''

Though she loves being a mother, Serena admitted she was shocked when she realised how much she'd missed the pressure of competing out on the court.

She said: ''It definitely surprises me. I have this amazing child, all these grand slams... it was all super bonus. I definitely feel a lot less pressure out there but I'm a little bit shocked at how much I almost want that pressure.''