Serena Williams Says She’s Retiring From Tennis: Live Updates

Serena Williams, the 23-time Grand Slam champion who has been the face of tennis since her maiden win at the US Open in 1999, said in a magazine article published online on Tuesday that she plans to retire from the sport, after playing in the tournament again. which begins later this month.

Williams, who has long since overcome her sport as the dominant cultural figure, said in a cover story for Vogue that she “never liked the word retirement” and prefers the word “evolution” to describe her next steps. “I’m evolving away from tennis towards other things that are important to me,” including working with her venture capital firm and grows her family.

She didn’t explicitly say when she might stop playing, but hinted on Instagram that the US Open could be her last tournament. “The countdown has started,” she said, adding, “I’m going to enjoy these next few weeks.”

Retiring from the stage at this year’s US Open would be a fitting end to Williams’ career. She won her first Grand Slam title there in 1999 when she was just 18 years old, or 23 years ago, a number consistent with her Grand Slam career.

“It feels like the right exclamation point, the right ending,” said Pam Shriver, the former player and tennis commentator who was one of the great doubles champions of the 1980s. “Their result doesn’t matter and it’s a conclusion that feels a lot better than it was at Wimbledon last year.”

At Wimbledon 2021, Williams had to retire from her first round match after just a few minutes when she slipped and tore her hamstring.

The injury put her out for almost a year. In fact, Shriver and others thought it likely that Williams would never officially retire, but would instead slip into the existence she adopted for nearly a year following her tearful departure from Wimbledon.

That spring, however, Williams said she got the itch to play competitively again. In the Vogue story, she explained that Tiger Woods convinced her to train hard for two weeks and see what happened. She didn’t immediately take his advice, but eventually started hitting and signed up for the doubles competition at a tuneup event at Wimbledon.

At Wimbledon, however, she played a spirited but inconsistent three-hour first-round match lost to Harmony Tan from France7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (7) during which she displayed flashes of power and touch that had once made her almost unbeatable.

Williams said she and husband Alexis Ohanian planned to have another child.

“For the last year Alexis and I have been trying to have another child and we recently received some information from my doctor that has put my mind at ease and that we can expand our family whenever we are ready . As an athlete, I definitely don’t want to get pregnant again. I need to be two feet into tennis or two feet out.

Williams, whose last Grand Slam tournament win came while pregnant at the 2017 Australian Open, was knocked out in the first round at Wimbledon in June.

“Unfortunately, this year I wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon,” said Williams. “And I don’t know if I’ll be ready to win New York. But I will try it. And the preparatory tournaments will be fun.”

Williams has won nearly $100 million in prize money.

Williams is currently second to Margaret Court of Australia in singles Grand Slam championships, a record she equaled and surpassed several times in 2018 and 2019 when she lost four Grand Slam finals without winning a set. Few in tennis, however, believe that lack should tarnish the legacy Williams leaves as the greatest tennis player and one of the greatest athletes of all sports.

This is an evolving story and will be updated.

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