Serena Williams says she is “evolving away from tennis” as she hinted at retiring from the sport she dominated for much of her career with 23 women’s grand slam singles titles.
- Serena Williams wrote that she does not like the word “retirement”
- Williams won her last major title in 2017
- Williams has claimed 23 grand slam singles titles since claiming her first at the US Open in 1999
On Monday, Williams played only her second singles match since she returned to action at Wimbledon in June after a year-long absence from competition, beating Spain’s Nuria Parrizas Diaz in straight sets to reach the second round of the Toronto Open.
The 40-year-old won her last grand slam crown in 2017 and has been chasing an elusive 24th title that would see her draw level with Australia’s Margaret Court, who holds the record for most majors.
“I have never liked the word retirement,” Williams wrote in a Vogue article.
“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.
“A few years ago I quietly started Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm. Soon after that, I started a family. I want to grow that family.”
In the Vogue article, Williams wrote that while she wanted another child — revealing she and her husband Alexis Ohanian had been trying for a second over the past year — it was unfair that she had to choose between tennis and having a family.
“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 wrote.
“But I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give.”
She said talking about giving up tennis has become a “taboo topic” in her house and that she cries when it comes up.
Williams also wrote that she wishes she could look forward to retiring like Ash Barty and Caroline Wozniacki, but “there is no happiness in this topic for me” and that she hates having to think about it.
She did though, write that she will be attempting one last shot at equaling Court’s record at Flushing Meadows, where she is already a six-time champion.
“I don’t know if I will be ready to win in New York, but I’m going to try.”
Williams later wrote an Instagram post about her desire 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.”