This is a developing story and will be updated.
Serena Williams says the countdown to retirement has begun. In an Instagram post about her Vogue magazine cover story, the 23-time Grand Slam champion said the pressure of wanting to expand her family, coupled with her outside interests, means “something’s got to give.”
“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 did the physical work of expanding our family,” Williams told author Rob Haskell. “Maybe I’d be more of a Tom Brady if I had the opportunity. Don’t get me wrong: I love being a woman, and I loved every second of being pregnant with Olympia. I was one of those annoying women who loved being pregnant and worked until the day I had to report to the hospital – even though things got super complicated on the other side. And I almost did the impossible: A lot of people don’t realize I was two months pregnant when I won the Australian Open in 2017. But I’m turning 41 this month and something has to give.”
Williams admits she “never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I’ve thought 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. Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is development. 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.”
When that final moment will come is uncertain, and Williams admits it. That could come after the US Open next month.
“I’m not looking for a ceremonial, final moment on the field. I’m terrible at goodbyes, the worst in the world. But please know that I’m more grateful to you than I can ever express in words. You’ve carried me to so many victories and so many trophies. I’m going to miss that version of me, the girl who played tennis. And I’m going to miss you.”