Serena Williams says she is planning to retire from tennis sometime following the U.S. Open, which begins later this month.
Williams, who is in Toronto taking part in the National Bank Open, made the announcement in an essay released Tuesday by Vogue magazine.
“I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give,” Williams wrote.
She said she wasn’t sure she’d be able to look at the magazine when the issue hit newstands, “knowing that this is it, the end of a story that started in Compton, California, with a little Black girl who just wanted to play tennis.”
Williams said she does not like the word retirement and prefers to think of this stage of her life as “evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.”
In an Instagram post, the 23-time Grand Slam champion says she will “relish these next few weeks.”
“There comes a time in life when we have to decide to move in a different direction. That time is always hard when you love something so much,” the post said. “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.”
The American has won more Grand Slam singles titles in the professional era than any other woman or man. Only one player, Margaret Court, collected more, 24, although she won a portion of hers in the amateur era.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that record. 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,” Williams said. “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.”
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 Sept. 1.
Williams, who beat Nuria Parrizas-Diaz 6-3, 6-4 yesterday in Toronto, is a five-time winner of the Canadian event. It was Williams’ first victory since the 2021 French Open.
With files from The Associated Press.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 9, 2022.
Feature image – Serena Williams, of the U.S.A celebrates after defeating Nuria Parrizas-Diaz of Spain, during the National Bank Open women’s tennis tournament in Toronto, on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov.