Serena Williams said Tuesday she is “evolving away from tennis” as she hinted at retiring from the sport she dominated for most of her career with 23 Grand Slam singles titles.
On Monday, Williams played just her second singles match since returning to action at Wimbledon in June after a year-long absence from the competition, beating Spain’s Nuria Parrizas Diaz to reach the second round of the Toronto Open.
The 40-year-old won her last Grand Slam crown in 2017 and has been chasing an elusive 24th crown that will draw her level with Margaret Court, who holds the record for most majors.
“I’ve never liked the word retirement,” Williams wrote in a Vogue article. “It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I’ve been thinking about 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.
“Maybe the best word to describe what I’m going through is evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, towards other things that are important to me.
“A few years ago, I quietly started Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm. Soon after, I started a family. I want to grow that family.”
Williams later spoke in an Instagram post about the time to move in a “different direction.”
“That time is always hard when you love something so much,” she added. “My God, I enjoy tennis.
“But now the countdown has begun. I have to focus on being a mother, my spiritual goals and finally discovering a different but just exciting Serena. I’m going to enjoy the next few weeks.”