In an exclusive interview with Vogue magazineWilliams has admitted she is “retiring” from the sport after an iconic and glittering tennis career that saw her win 23 Grand Slam singles titles.
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Williams, 40, is chasing her 24th Grand Slam, which would tie her with Margaret Court on the all-time leading list.
She now looks set to compete in her home tournament, the US Open, which runs from August 29 to September 11, 2022, before going into “retirement”.
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You can read some interesting takeaways from Williams’ fascinating interview below:
I never liked that word retirement. I don’t think this word is modern. I thought of it as a transition, but I want to be careful about how I use this word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people. Perhaps the best word to describe what I do is this evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m stepping away from tennis to other things that are important to me. A few years ago, I quietly started Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm. Shortly after that, I started a family. I want to grow this family.
But I didn’t want to admit to myself or anyone else that I had to stop playing tennis. Alexis, my husband, and I barely talked about it; it’s like a taboo subject. I can’t even have this conversation with my mom and dad. It’s kind of invalid until you say it out loud. It comes up, I get a nasty lump in my throat and I start to cry. The only person I actually went there with was my therapist! One thing I’m not going to do is gloss over it. I know a lot of people are excited and looking forward to retirement, and I really wish I could experience that. Ashley Barty was world number one when she retired in March this year and I believe she really felt ready to move on. Caroline Wozniacki, one of my best friends, was relieved to retire in 2020.
Kudos to these people, but I’ll be honest. There is no happiness in this thread for me. I know it’s unusual to say, but I’m in a lot of pain. This is the hardest thing I could ever imagine. I hate it. I hate that I have to be at this intersection. I keep telling myself: I wish it was easy for me, but it’s not. I’m torn: I don’t want it to be over, but at the same time, I’m ready for what’s next. I don’t know how I’m going to be able to look at this magazine when it comes out knowing that this is it, the end of a story that started in Compton, California with a little black girl who just wanted to play tennis. This sport has given me so much. I like to win. I love fighting. I like to entertain.