Serena Williams said she is “evolving away from tennis” and looking to “raise her family” as she announced plans to retire.
Unlike her friend Caroline Wozniacki, however, who “felt a sense of relief when she retired in 2020”, Williams admitted that “there is no happiness in this subject for me.”
He writes in Vogue magazine: “I feel a lot of pain. It’s the hardest thing I could ever imagine. I hate it.”
He continues: “I’m torn: I don’t want it to end. I love to win. I love the battle. I love to have fun.”
But she knows “it’s over, the end of a story that started in Compton, California, with a little black girl who just wanted to play tennis.”
And it looks like the US Open – which kicks off in New York on August 29 – could be his last tournament.
The American sports star recalls “feeling the energy of the crowd”, “night games at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows” and “hitting an ace on set point”.
Family is clearly an important consideration as the 23 Grand Slam single title winner reflects on her future.
Her daughter, Olympia, wants to “be an older sister,” she writes.
Williams “never wanted to choose between tennis and a family”, adding: “I don’t think that’s right.”
He explains: “If I were a boy, I wouldn’t write it because I would be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical work to expand our family.
“But I am 41 this month and something has to give.
“Over the past year, Alexis (her husband) and I have been trying to have another child and recently got some information from my doctor that reassured me and made me feel that whenever we are ready, we can add to our family. .
“I definitely don’t want to be pregnant again as an athlete. I need to be two feet in tennis or two feet out.”
Illustrating her thought process, she adds: “I never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t seem like a modern word to me.
“Perhaps the best word to describe what I am doing is evolution. I am here to tell you that I am evolving away from tennis, towards other things that are important to me.”
She continues: “I don’t want it to end, but at the same time I’m ready for the next one.
“I started a family. I want to raise that family.”
Williams says the retirement was a difficult topic to negotiate, writing: “I have been reluctant to admit to myself or anyone else that I have to quit tennis.
“Alexis and I have barely talked about it; it’s like a taboo subject. 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 out, I get an annoying lump in my throat and I start to cry.”
Williams says it’s “terrible at goodbyes, the worst in the world”.
Thanking the fans, he adds: “You have led me to so many victories and so many trophies. I will miss that version of me, that girl who played tennis. And I will miss you.”