One day after snatching her first win in a year at the Canadian Open in Toronto, Serena Williams dropped a bombshell: She’s retiring.
The tennis icon made the announcement in a personal essay for VOGUE Magazine, published on the website today (August 9). She admits that she hates the term “retirement,” writing, “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.”
In the essay, Williams is looking to step away from her two-decade-long career to focus on her business investments and, most importantly, expanding her family. She and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, have been working on having another child after welcoming daughter Olympia in 2017. “…These days, if I have to choose between building my tennis résumé and building my family, I choose the latter … In the last year, Alexis and I have been trying to have another child, and we recently got some information from my doctor that put my mind at ease and made me feel that whenever we’re ready, we can add to our family. I definitely don’t want to be pregnant again as an athlete. I need to be two feet into tennis or two feet out.”
Starting her pro career in 1995, at just 14 years old, Williams went on to become the #1 ranked tennis player in the world. She has won 23 singles grand slam titles, 14 doubles titles (with sister Venus), and four Olympic gold medals. However, she’s not calling it quits just yet: She still plans to play in the U.S. Open in New York later this month.
As she ends her essay, Williams suggests that she may not want a grand sendoff, but it will be an emotional one nonetheless. She writes, “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.”