Tennis star Serena Williams on Tuesday announced her intention to retire from playing professionally in a story for Vogue magazine.
Writing for Vogue, Williams said that she didn’t like to use the word “retirement.”
“Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution,” she wrote. “I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me. A few years ago I quietly started Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm. Soon after that, I started a family. I want to grow that family.”
Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, welcomed their daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., in September 2017. In Vogue, Williams wrote that the nearly 5-year-old girl has been praying for a baby sister.
“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,” she wrote.
“Don’t get me wrong: I love being a woman, and I loved every second of being pregnant with Olympia. ... But I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give.”
Williams had hinted about her coming retirement on Monday, after winning her first singles match since the 2021 French Open, The Associated Press reported.
“I’m getting closer to the light. Lately, that’s been it, I can’t wait to get to that light,” she said, according to the AP, adding the light represents “freedom.”
“I love playing though, it’s amazing,” she said. “I can’t do this forever, so sometimes you just want to try your best to enjoy the moments and do the best that you can.”
Williams grew up in Compton, California, the youngest of five daughters -- including her older twin sister, Venus Williams -- and first picked up a tennis racket when she was 3 years old. Since launching her professional tennis career, Serena Williams has earned 23 Grand Slam singles titles -- the most claimed by any person in the professional era, the AP reported.
Only one person has collected more titles than Serena Williams in history: Margaret Court, who collected a total of 24 titles with a portion claimed during the amateur era, according to the AP.
On Tuesday, Serena Williams wrote that she wished she could surpass Court’s record, but that ultimately, “if I have to choose between building my tennis resume and building my family, I choose the latter.”
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