Serena Williams is farewelling the sport that gave her worldwide recognition. The athlete who ranked the world’s No. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association for 319 weeks has announced in Vogue’s latest issue that she will “evolve away from tennis” after the 2022 US Open. According to Williams, her retirement decision is to focus on “other things that are important to me.”
The 23-time grand slam winner said she will give her all at the US Open, and after it is over, she will be moving “in a different direction.”
“There comes a time in life when we have to decide to move in a different direction,” Williams posted on Instagram. “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.”
“I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me,” Serena told Vogue. “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 continued: “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.”
As reported by CNN, so far, Serena has won 73 career singles titles, 23 doubles titles, and two mixed doubles titles which include 39 grand slam titles – 23 singles titles, 14 doubles titles, and two mixed doubles titles.
“Believe me; I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair,” Williams explained, referring to her marriage with Alexis Ohanian, with whom she shares a daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.
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“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,” she told the publication.
“Maybe I’d be more of a Tom Brady if I had that opportunity. Don’t get me wrong: I love being a woman, and I loved every second of being pregnant with Olympia. I was one of those annoying women who adored being pregnant and was working until the day I had to report to the hospital – although things got super complicated on the other side,” she said. “And I almost did do the impossible: A lot of people don’t realize that I was two months pregnant when I won the Australian Open in 2017. But I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give.”