Serena Williams, one of the greatest athletes of all time and a 23-time Grand Slam singles champion, has announced her retirement from professional tennis, suggesting she could retire after the upcoming US Open.
In a column for Vogue, Williams, 40, described her intention to end her playing career as an “evolution” from tennis. “I never liked the word retirement,” she wrote. “Maybe the best word to describe what I do is evolution I’m here to tell you that I’m transitioning from tennis to other interests.”
Williams has spent most of her time off the court planning for the day when she decides to retire, including launching a venture capital business, Serena Ventures, and investing in a variety of charities. She did, however, emphasise that one of her main motivations for retiring is to continue raising her family. In 2017, Williams gave birth to her first child, Alexis Olympia.
“I’ve never wanted to have to pick between tennis and my family. “I don’t think it’s fair,” wrote Williams. “If I were a male, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife worked physically to grow our family.”
In a storied career that spanned nearly three decades from her beginnings on the public courts of Compton, California, Williams won an Open-era record 23 Grand Slam singles titles, earning a total of $94,588,910 in prize money and more. in confirmations. Williams fell short of the all-time record of 24, a lesser record set by Margaret Court.
Despite the various outside interests Williams has enjoyed since her youth, Williams has also cemented one of the longest careers of all time at the top level of the sport, second only to her 42-year-old sister Venus. She has embarked on countless comebacks, including twice after suffering a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.
Williams turned professional at the age of 14 in 1995 and was a teenage phenomenon when she won her first Grand Slam title at the age of 17 at the 1999 US Open. Despite now having the mileage covered, Williams compared her feelings to the seemingly happy retirement of 26-year-old Ashleigh Barty in March and 32-year-old Caroline Wozniacki, her close friend, in 2020.
“No luck for me on this subject,” she wrote. “I know it’s not usual to say, but I feel a lot of pain. It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever imagined. That irritates me. I despise having to cross this street. I keep telling myself that I wish things were easier for me, but they aren’t. I’m torn: I don’t want it to end, but I’m also ready for what comes next.”
Unlike many other greats, Williams’ success was not limited to singles. She and her sister Venus also formed one of the greatest doubles partnerships, winning 14 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles despite playing in a limited doubles program. In addition, she won four Olympic gold medals, including three in doubles and two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles in 1998.
Their accomplishments are even more significant given that they represent the first African-American female Grand Slam champions since Althea Gibson in 1958. Both dominated a predominantly white, upper-class and disproportionately expensive sport. Williams’ serve, power and athleticism led to her success, but so did her intelligence, problem-solving ability and her mentality.
In her long, emotional essay in Vogue, Williams explained that after injuring her hamstring at Wimbledon last year and taking a year off from the sport, she wasn’t sure she would ever return. A discussion with legendary golfer Tiger Woods led her back to the practice courts, which she enjoyed so much that she returned full time. Williams made her singles comeback in June at Wimbledon where she lost in the first round to France’s Harmony Tan.
Williams is in Toronto this week for the National Bank Open, where she defeated Nuria Parrizas-Diaz 6-3, 6-4 on Monday to win her first singles match since June 2021. Following Canada, she will participate in the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio, followed by the US Open, which starts at the end of August.
Despite providing a detailed explanation of her reasons for leaving the sport, Williams did not explicitly announce that she would be retiring from the US Open. However, the finish line is definitely out of sight. “Oh my God, I love tennis,” she wrote. “However, the countdown has begun. I need to priorities being a mother, spiritual objectives, and ultimately discovering a new yet just amazing Serena. “I’m looking forward to the next several weeks.”