Serena Williams Announces Plan to Retire From Tennis: 'The Countdown Has Begun'

Image via Robert Prange/Getty
Image via Robert Prange/Getty

In an essay published on Tuesday by Vogue, 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams announced that she has decided to step away from playing tennis.

“I have never liked the word retirement,” Williams, who is 40 years old, wrote. “It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I’ve been thinking 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 evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me. A few years ago I quietly started Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm. Soon after that, I started a family. I want to grow that family.”

Williams continued by expressing her mixed feelings about moving away from playing tennis, “But I’ve been reluctant to admit to myself or anyone else that I have to move on from playing tennis. Alexis, my husband, and I have hardly talked about it; it’s like a taboo topic. I can’t even have this conversation with my mom and dad. It’s like it’s not real until you say it out loud. It comes up, I get an uncomfortable lump in my throat, and I start to cry. The only person I’ve really gone there with is my therapist!”

Williams, who will be on the cover of Vogue’s September issue, wrote on Instagram that “the countdown has begun.” She added, “ I have to focus on being a mom, my spiritual goals and finally discovering a different, but just exciting Serena. I’m gonna relish these next few weeks.”

The announcement comes on the heels of Williams winning her first singles match in over a year on Monday at the Canadian Open.

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