Serena Williams has ruled the tennis court for more than 20 years. Her reign has been nothing short of legendary, winning 23 Grand Slam singles championships, more than 70 career singles titles, 14 Grand Slam doubles titles, among other trophies, medals, and more. For this reason, the news from this morning has a note of disappointment for generations of tennis players and spectators. Williams made her retirement from tennis official in an emotional, private piece for Vogue.
In her piece for Vogue, the tennis legend confesses, “I have never liked the term retiring.” I don’t feel like it’s a contemporary term. Williams decides to reclaim her story by choosing a fresh word and viewpoint rather than embracing this new stage of her life as a retirement. “Evolution may be the best term to use to describe what I’m doing. I’m here to let you know that I’m moving away from tennis and toward other priorities,” she writes. Vogue/Luis Alberto Rodriguez
Williams, who just yesterday defeated a rival in straight sets at the National Bank Open in Toronto, talks about her desire to expand the family she and her husband Alexis Ohanian, with whom she has a 4-year-old daughter named Olympia, started. Additionally, she has a significant financial investment in Serena Ventures, the venture capital company she created just a few years ago. Williams was aware that she would ultimately need to take a permanent step away from the court in light of these other aspects of her life. Williams acknowledges that she has been “reluctant to accept to myself or anybody else that I have to move on from playing tennis.”
For Williams, accepting that her career is coming to an end hasn’t been simple. She writes, “It’s like it’s not real until you say it out loud.” “When it surfaces, I have a strange knot in my throat and begin to weep. My therapist is the only one I’ve really travelled with there. I’m not going to sugarcoat this, for one reason. Williams says, “I know that a lot of people are enthusiastic about and looking forward to retirement, and I truly wish I felt that way. Vogue/Luis Alberto Rodriguez
The well-liked, lauded athlete acknowledges that she finds it difficult to accept the thought of retiring from tennis and is not at all looking forward to it. “This subject does not bring me joy. I realise it’s unusual for me to say this, but I’m in a lot of pain. It’s the most difficult thing I can fathom. I hate it. I detest having to stand at this turning point, she writes.
Williams now anticipates the next weeks. Before the U.S. Open, the year’s last Grand Slam and the first major she won back in 1999, she will compete in a few warm-up events. Williams admits, “I’m the world’s worst at saying goodbye. The athlete dedicates her article to her devoted followers and supporters, saying, “You have carried me to so many victories and so many prizes. That tennis-playing version of myself will be missed. And you will be missed by me.
The amount of how we’ll miss her is beyond words.