It’s the next step in evolution for the tennis phenom!
Serena Williams has announced her retirement from tennis after the U.S. Open, Vogue reports.
It is one thing to know that a day will eventually come, but it is another thing to actually be there. Now that we're here, we want to reflect on a career well spent.
Williams’ name first started ringing bells at the age of 10, being featured in a New York Times article about her father’s decision to send her and older sister Venus, aged 11 at the time, to a Florida tennis academy. By age 14, Serena played in her first match and while she lost, she just kept getting better.
Now she is walking away as one of the greatest to ever play the game, holding 23 grand slam titles under her belt, and an entire Nike building named in her honor. And while Williams feels like she has more tennis left in her, the superstar opened up about feeling she’s at a critical juncture in her life where it’s time to transition.
“Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair. 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. Maybe I’d be more of a Tom Brady if I had that opportunity,” Williams wrote.
Williams opened up about her work with Serena Ventures and her desire to not only focus more on those investments but also on the investments within her own family. She and her husband have been trying to have another child and she’s clear that she doesn’t want to get pregnant again as an athlete. Given the life-threatening complications she experienced during her own childbirth and her investment in the maternal mortality crisis, it’s completely understandable.
However, Williams is hesitant to call it retirement, preferring instead to refer to it as a transition, an evolution of sorts. And while many top athletes reach retirement and feel a sense of peace, Williams admits that the decision has been incredibly painful for her, a truth she’s avoided talking about, even with her family.
“I’m going to be honest…There is no happiness in this topic for me. I know it’s not the usual thing to say, but I feel a great deal of pain. It’s the hardest thing that I could ever imagine. I hate it. I hate that I have to be at this crossroads. I keep saying to myself, I wish it could be 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,” said Williams.
As a young Black girl from Compton who devoted her entire life to the sport, Williams admits it’s the performance and competing aspect of it all that she’ll miss the most. And since she’s also built her career on proving people wrong, she’s looking forward to the day when she doesn’t have to prove anything at all. The day where she has no more records to beat, no more trophies to win and she can bow out saying she’s done her best. That day is coming soon.
“I’m not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment. I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst. But please know that I am more grateful for you than I can ever express in words. You have carried me to so many wins and so many trophies. I’m going to miss that version of me, that girl who played tennis. And I’m going to miss you,” wrote Williams.
Thank you for giving it your all Serena! Onward and upward!
Photo Courtesy of Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports