Serena Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion who has been the face of tennis since winning her first US Open in 1999, said in a magazine article posted online Tuesday that she plans to retire from the sport after played again in the tournament, which begins later this month.
Williams, who has long transcended her sport as a dominant cultural figure, said in a cover story for Vogue that she had “never liked the word retirement” and preferred the word “evolution” to describe her next steps. . “I’m stepping away from tennis into other things that are important to me,” including working with his venture capital firm and growing his family.
She didn’t say when she might stop playing, but hinted on Instagram that the US Open could be her last tournament. “The countdown has begun,” she said, adding, “I’m going to savor these next few weeks.”
Leaving the stage at this year’s US Open would be a fitting end to Williams’ storied career. She won her first Grand Slam title there, in 1999, when she was just 17, or 23 years ago, a number that matches her Grand Slam career record.
“It feels like the right exclamation point, the right ending,” said Pam Shriver, the former tennis player and commentator who was one of the great doubles champions of the 1980s. and it’s a conclusion that feels much better than last year at Wimbledon.”
At Wimbledon in 2021, Williams was forced out of her first round match after just minutes when she slipped and tore her hamstrings.
The injury kept her away for almost a year. In fact, Shriver and others thought it was likely that Williams would never officially retire, but would instead drift into the existence she assumed for nearly a year following her tearful exit from Wimbledon.
This spring, however, Williams said she wanted to play competitively again. In Vogue’s story, she said Tiger Woods convinced her to commit to training hard for two weeks and see what happens. She didn’t immediately take his advice but eventually started knocking and signed up to compete in doubles at a tune-up event at Wimbledon.
At Wimbledon she played a spirited but inconsistent three hour first round match but lost to Harmony Tan of France, 7-5, 1-6, 7-6(7), in which she showed flashes of power and touch. which had once made it almost unbeatable.
Williams said she and her husband, Alexis Ohanian, plan to have another child.
“Over the past year, Alexis and I have been trying to have another child, and we recently received information from my doctor that reassured me and made me feel that whenever we are ready, we we can expand our family. I absolutely don’t want to be pregnant again as an athlete. I have to be two feet in tennis or two feet.
Williams, whose last Grand Slam victory came while pregnant at the Australian Open in 2017, was knocked out of Wimbledon in June in the first round.
“Unfortunately I wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon this year,” Williams said. “And I don’t know if I’ll be ready to win New York. But I will try. And the preparatory tournaments will be fun.
Williams won nearly $100 million in prize money.
At the moment, Williams is second to Margaret Court of Australia in the Grand Slam singles championships, a record she had multiple chances to equal and surpass in 2018 and 2019 when she lost four Grand Slam finals. Slam without winning a set. However, few tennis players believe a shortcoming should tarnish Williams’ legacy as the greatest female tennis player and one of the greatest athletes in any sport.
August 9, 2022
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Williams’ age when she won the US Open in 1999. She was 17, not 18.