(NewsNation) – Tennis great Serena Williams announced she is planning to retire, saying in an essay that the “countdown” to her departure from her tennis career has begun.
In a Vogue magazine essay published on Tuesday, the seven-time Wimbledon winner said she’s “evolving” away from tennis into “other things that are important to me.”
“I’ve never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me,” Williams said. “I’ve viewed this as a transition, but I want to be careful how I use this word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people. “
After tennis, Williams said she plans to focus on growing her family with Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and her venture capital firm Serena Ventures, as well as her “spiritual goals” and discovering a “different but just as exciting Serena.”
“I’m going to enjoy these next few weeks,” she said.
Williams said her nearly 5-year-old daughter Olympia wants a baby sibling and that she and Ohanian have been trying to have another child for the past year.
Williams pointed out she was two months pregnant when she won the 2017 Australian Open and said she doesn’t want to get pregnant again as an athlete.
“I’m turning 41 this month, and I’ve got to do something about it,” Williams said.
A picture of the Vogue cover that Williams posted to Instagram shows the tennis star alongside the words “Serena’s farewell.”
Noting that she hates the word “retirement,” Williams said her decision was an emotional one.
“I hesitate to admit to myself or anyone else that I need to stop playing tennis,” she said in the essay. “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 really went there with is my therapist!”
In her essay, Williams said she expects to play the US Open in New York, which begins at the end of the month.
Williams is playing in Toronto this week in a hard-court tournament leading up to the US Open, the final Grand Slam event of the year, which begins August 29 in New York.
“I don’t know if I’ll be ready to win New York,” she said. “But I will try it. And the preparatory tournaments will be fun.”
The American has won more Grand Slam singles titles in the pro era than any other woman or man. Only one player, Margaret Court, collected more, 24, although she won part of it in the amateur period.
Last June, Williams was eliminated from Wimbledon in the first round, which also marked her comeback after 364 days without singles competition.
“This sport has given me so much. i love to win i love the fight I love to entertain. I’m not sure if every player feels that way, but I love the performance aspect of it – being able to keep people entertained week after week,” she said.
Reflecting on her legacy, Williams said she doesn’t always know what to say.
“But I would like to believe that thanks to the opportunities I am given, female athletes feel like they can be themselves on the pitch. They can play with aggression and pump their fists. You can be strong yet beautiful,” Williams said. “They can wear what they want and say what they want and be proud of everything. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my career. Mistakes are learning experiences and I embrace those moments.”
This story evolves. Refresh for updates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
https://www.wane.com/top-stories/tennis-great-serena-williams-announces-retirement-plans/ Serena Williams says she is “evolving” away from tennis and plans to retire