Serena Williams announced Tuesday that she will officially retire from tennis after the U.S. Open.
“I have never liked the word retirement,” the tennis champion said in a Vogue piece written in her own words. “It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I’ve been thinking of this as a transition, but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people,” she continued.
“Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me,” Williams, 40, wrote in her essay.
The U.S. Open, which takes place in New York City in August and September 2022, will be Williams’ last professional match, as she noted in Vogue.
In Vogue’s September issue, @serenawilliams prepares to say farewell to tennis on her own terms and in her own words. “It’s the hardest thing that I could ever imagine,” she says. “I don’t want it to be over, but at the same time I’m ready for what’s next” https://t.co/6Zr0UXVTH1 pic.twitter.com/YtGtcc18a9
— Vogue Magazine (@voguemagazine) August 9, 2022
Williams is a 23-time Grand Slam champion and has 14 in doubles alongside her sister Venus, according to TMZ. She is a true staple in the world of professional tennis, and a recognizable figure on a worldwide scale. Departing from her passion is not one that Williams appears to be taking lightly.
Williams is putting family first. “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,” Williams wrote.
Williams wrote about her devotion to tennis while contrasting it against the demands the sport puts on her personal life. “A lot of people don’t realize that I was two months pregnant when I won the Australian Open in 2017. But I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give,” she reflected. (RELATED: Tom Brady Will Join Fox Sports Once He Retires From The NFL, Deal Is Reportedly Worth $375 Million)
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 9, 2022
Williams candidly expressed the complicated feelings behind her decision to retire. “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,” she noted.
The tennis star made her professional tennis debut in 1995 and has since clinched the title of the highest-earning female athlete of all time, according to TMZ.
“I’m torn: I don’t want it to be over, but at the same time I’m ready for what’s next,” Williams wrote in her essay.