Serena Williams: Tennis star says 'countdown' to retirement has begun

The 23-time Grand Slam singles winner said she is “evolving away” from the sport, choosing instead to focus on having a second child. She has won more Grand Slam titles in the professional era than any other player.

© Alberto Pezzali/AP Photo/picture alliance
Serena Williams announced in an article for Vogue that she would be stepping away from tennis

US tennis star Serena Williams has announced that she is ready to step away from the game after winning 23 Grand Slam titles.

In an essay published by Vogue magazine on Tuesday, she said she plans to turn her focus to having another child and her business interests.

What did Williams say?

“I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give,” Williams wrote in the essay.

Williams said that she does not like the term “retirement,” adding that it “doesn’t feel like a modern word.” She said that she prefers to think of this change as her “evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.”

“Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair,” she stressed. “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.”

Williams said that she was “reluctant to admit” that she was leaving tennis, calling it a “taboo topic.” “The only person I’ve really gone there with is my therapist!”

She added on Instagram that “there comes a time in life when we have to decide to move in a different direction … now, the countdown has begun.”

© Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP Photo/picture alliance
Serena Williams has won 23 Grand Slam titles

Williams is playing this week in Toronto at a hard-court tournament event that leads into the US Open, which is this year’s last Grand Slam event.

The player was off the tour for about a year after she was injured at Wimbledon in 2021. She returned to single competition at the All England Club this June and lost the first round.

23 Grand Slam titles

Williams has won more Grand Slam singles titles in the professional era than any other player. Margaret Court collected 24, although she won some of them in the amateur era.

Referring to Court’s record of 24 titles, Williams said, “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that. Obviously I do. But day to day, I’m really not thinking about her. If I’m in a Grand Slam final, then yes, I am thinking about that record.”

“Maybe I thought about it too much, and that didn’t help. The way I see it, I should have had 30-plus Grand Slams,” she wrote.

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

sdi/nm (AP, AFP)

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