Serena Williams has announced her upcoming retirement from tennis as she admitted on Tuesday that she was “getting away” from the sport.
The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion made just her second appearance of the year this week by defeating Nuria Parrizas at the National Bank Open in Toronto.
She later admitted that she was “closer to the light at the end of the tunnel” when it came to her remarkable career, before following up that statement with a Vogue article in which she alluded to walking away.
“I never liked the word retirement,” Williams wrote in Vogue. “It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I thought of it as a transition, but I want to be sensitive to how I use this word, meaning something very specific and important to a community of people. .
Serena Williams Grand Slam singles titles
|australian open||2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2017|
|French Open||2002, 2013, 2015|
|Wimbledon||2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016|
|U.S. Open||1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014|
“Perhaps the best word to describe what I do is evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, towards other things that are important to me.
“I was hesitant to admit that I have to stop playing tennis. It’s like a taboo subject. It comes back and I start crying. I think the only person I really went there with was my therapist. “
Williams noted that she and her partner Alexis were trying for another child and that she no longer wanted to be pregnant as an athlete. In the article, she recalls being two months pregnant with her daughter Olympia when she won the Australian Open in 2017.
The 40-year-old was knocked out by Harmony Tan at Wimbledon in her first singles match a year earlier this summer, but is aiming for the US Open in what could prove her farewell tournament.
“Unfortunately I was not ready to win Wimbledon this year,” she added in the post. “And I don’t know if I will be ready to win New York. But I will try. And the preparatory tournaments will be fun.
“I know there’s a fantasy among the fans that I could have equaled Margaret that day in London and then maybe beat her record in New York and then at the trophy ceremony, say “See you soon!” I understand. It’s a good fantasy. But I’m not looking for a ceremony, a last moment on the pitch. I suck at goodbyes, the worst in the world.
Williams’ last Grand Slam title came in 2017 to take her tally to 23, leaving her shy of a 24th that would take her level with Margaret Court’s record for most majors.
“There are people who say I’m not the GOAT (greatest of all time) because I haven’t surpassed Court’s record, which she set before the ‘Open era’ which started in 1968,” Williams said.
“I would be lying if I said I didn’t want that record. Obviously I do. But day to day I really don’t think about her. If I’m in a Slam final then yeah I’m thinking about this record. Maybe I thought about it too much, and it didn’t help.
She highlighted her impending retirement by suggesting “the countdown has begun”, noting that she was “savoring” what could be the final weeks of her career.
Williams won her first Grand Slam title at the US Open in 1999 when she beat Martina Hingis just weeks before she turned 18.
“I don’t particularly like to think about my heritage. I get asked a lot of questions about it and I never quite know what to say. But I like to think that through the opportunities I’ve been given, female athletes feel like they can be themselves on the court. They can play aggressive and pump their fists. They can be strong but beautiful. They can wear what they want and say what they want and kick butt and be proud of it all.”
Such was the dominance of the Williams family in the early 2000s that Serena met her sister Venus in eight of 13 Grand Slam singles finals from 2001 to 2009, with the pair also facing each other in the European Open final. Australia 2017 in Melbourne.
Together, the sisters transformed women’s sport through their skill and leadership, as well as their influence as leading voices in promoting gender and racial equality.
In an interview with Sky Sports in December 2020, American male tennis player Frances Tiafoe explained how he grew up yearning to follow in the footsteps of both.
“When I tell people in the neighborhood ‘I’m a tennis player,’ they’re like ‘oh, so you’re trying to do that Sister Williams thing? “. It’s a must. You talk to a black person about tennis and it’s the Williams sisters, that’s exactly what it is. So big, they give so many guys so much confidence,” he said. he declares.
“What Venus has done for women’s sport, women’s tennis, women’s rights is amazing. Both of them have been great spokespersons. I looked up to them and still do. I’m a fan of them and I want to say thank you to them.” .”
One of Serena Williams’ most dominant periods came between 2012 and 2016 when she won eight of 16 Grand Slam singles appearances, and reached the final on two other occasions.