After this year’s US Open, Serena Williams has declared that she will “evolve away from tennis” in order to concentrate on “other things that are important to me.”
The 23-time grand slam champion stated in a Vogue story that while she will compete at the US Open, it is time for her to go “in a different direction.”
With a photo of herself on the cover of Vogue with the caption “Serena’s Farewell…I’m terrible at goodbyes,” Williams wrote on Instagram, “There comes a point in life when we have to decide to move in a different direction.”
“That time is always hard when you love something so much. My goodness do I enjoy tennis. But now, the countdown has begun. I have to focus on being a mom, my spiritual goals and finally discovering a different, but just exciting Serena. I’m gonna relish these next few weeks.”
The 40-year-victory old’s in her first singles match in 430 days precedes the announcement.
In June, she played in her first singles match in more than a year, losing to France’s Harmony Tan. She then made a suggestion that she would compete at the US Open, which starts on August 29, on home soil.
However, Williams stated the following in the piece: “I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I’ve been thinking of this as a transition, but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people. Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me .”
She went on: “Unfortunately I wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon this year. And I don’t know if I will be ready to win New York. But I’m going to try.”
Williams has evolved as the most resolute force in women’s tennis over the past 30 years after she lost her professional debut match in September 1995.
The Williams sisters, along with their older sister Venus, revolutionised tennis by consistently taking home grand slam titles in both singles and doubles competition.
Serena currently holds 39 grand slam titles in total (23 singles titles, 14 doubles titles, and two mixed doubles titles), having won 73 singles titles, 23 doubles wins, and two mixed doubles titles throughout her career. She is one singles grand slam title short of Margaret Court of Australia’s all-time record.
She responded as follows when asked by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour earlier this year if she still wished to surpass Court’s record: “I should have had it, really, I should — I’ve had many opportunities to have it. But I’m not giving up, to answer your question .”
Later, she addressed this in Vogue, stating: “I know there’s a fan fantasy that I might have tied Margaret that day in London, then maybe beat her record in New York, and then at the trophy ceremony say, ‘See ya!’ I get that. It’s a good fantasy. But I’m not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment. I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst.”
More than any other female athlete, the four-time Olympic gold champion has earned almost $94.5 million in career prizes.
After giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., Williams announced her engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian outside of the court in 2016.
She’s making the decision to leave the sport she has permanently altered in order to prioritise her young family and other hobbies.
“Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair,” Williams explained. “If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labor of expanding our family.
The celebrity acknowledged that she despises contemplating her legacy.
“I get asked about it a lot, and I never know exactly what to say. But I’d like to think that thanks to opportunities afforded to me, women athletes feel that they can be themselves on the court. They can play with aggression and pump their fists. They can be strong yet beautiful. They can wear what they want and say what they want and kick butt and be proud of it all.
“Over the years, I hope that people come to think of me as symbolizing something bigger than tennis.”