Serena Williams says ‘the countdown has begun’ on her tennis career


Sports

Williams said on Tuesday that she was ready to step away from tennis so she could focus on having another child, as well as her business interests.

Serena Williams of the United States returns the ball during a match against Nuria Parrizas-Diaz of Spain at the National Bank Open tennis tournament in Toronto, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press through AP)
The Associated Press

Saying “the countdown has begun,” 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams said on Tuesday she was ready to step away from tennis so she could focus on having another child and her business interests, presaging the end of a career that transcended sport. .

In an essay published Tuesday by Vogue magazine and an Instagram post — the type of direct fan communication favored by celebrities these days, a category she most certainly belongs to — Williams wasn’t quite made clear on the timeline of his last game. maybe, but it could happen at the US Open, which begins August 29 in New York.

“There comes a time in life when we have to decide to go in another direction. That time is always difficult when you love something so much. My God, I love tennis. But now the countdown has begun “Written Williams on Instagram. “I have to focus on being a mom, my spiritual goals and finally discovering a different, but equally exciting Serena. I will savor these next few weeks.

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Williams, one of the greatest and most accomplished athletes in the history of her sport – or any other – wrote in the essay that she doesn’t like the word “retirement” and prefers to think of this stage of his life as “moving away from tennis, towards other things that are important to me.

“I feel so much pain. This is the hardest thing I could imagine. I hate it. I hate having to be at this crossroads,” she wrote. I wish it was easy for me, but it’s not. I’m torn: I don’t want it to be over, but at the same time I’m ready for what’s next.

Williams is playing this week in Toronto, in a hard-court tournament that leads to the US Open. It’s the last Grand Slam event of the year and one she’s won six times, most recently in 2014, to go with seven titles each at Wimbledon and the Australian Open, plus three at the French Open.

She also boasts 14 Grand Slam doubles championships, all won with her older sister, Venus, part of a remarkable story of two siblings from Compton, Calif., who grew up to be ranked No. dozens of trophies and dominating tennis to stretch – a story told in the Oscar-winning film ‘King Richard’.

A victory Monday in Toronto was Williams’ first victory in a singles match in more than a year.

The American has won more Grand Slam singles titles in the professional era than any other woman or man. Only one player, Margaret Court, has collected more, 24, despite winning some of hers in the amateur era.

“I would be lying if I said I didn’t want this record. Of course I do. But day to day, I really don’t think about her. If I’m in a Grand Slam final, then yeah, I’m thinking about that record,” Williams said. “Maybe I thought about it too much, and it didn’t help. From my point of view, I should have had more than 30 Grand Slam tournaments.

But, Williams went on to write, “These days, if I have to choose between building my tennis resume and building my family, I choose the latter.”

She and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, have a daughter, Olympia, who turns 5 on September 1.

“Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think that’s fair,” said Williams, who was pregnant when she won the 2017 Australian Open. for his last Grand Slam trophy. “If I were a man, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife did the physical labor to expand our family.”

Williams said she and Ohanian wanted to have a second baby and wrote, “I definitely don’t want to be pregnant again as an athlete. I have to be two feet in tennis or two feet.

She was absent from the tour for about a year after suffering an injury in her first round match at Wimbledon in 2021. She returned to singles competition at the All England Club in June and lost in the first round.

After that loss, Williams was asked if she would compete again.

“That’s a question I can’t answer,” she said at the time. “I don’t know. … Who knows? Who knows where I’ll appear?”

Williams hints in the essay that the US Open will be his last tournament but does not say so explicitly.

“I’m not looking for a ceremonial, final moment on the court,” Williams wrote. “I suck at goodbyes, the worst in the world.”



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