“I don’t want it to be done, but at the same time I’m ready for what’s next,” the famous athlete wrote in a Vogue piece about her ambitions.
Tennis phenom Serena Williams writes in a Vogue piece that was published on Tuesday that she is getting ready to retire from the sport.
Williams says she dislikes the word “retirement,” but she is leaving tennis behind to concentrate on other ventures and her family.
She writes for Vogue, “I have never liked the word retiring.” “To me, it doesn’t seem like a contemporary word. I’ve been referring to this as a transition, but I want to be careful how I use that word since it has a very specific and significant meaning to a group of people. Perhaps the easiest way to sum up what I’m doing is to call it evolutionary. I’m here to let you know that I’m moving away from tennis and toward other priorities. I quietly founded Serena Ventures, a venture capital business, a few years ago. I soon afterward began a family. I want that family to expand.
Williams recalls her daughter Olympia stating she wants to be a big sister in the Vogue essay, but she also says that she never wanted to have to decide between playing tennis and starting a family because she “doesn’t think it’s fair.”
Williams adds, “If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there winning while my wife was doing the actual labour of growing our family.” “Perhaps if I had that chance, I’d be more like Tom Brady,” the person said.
Williams acknowledges that even her parents and husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, were unhappy to hear of her decision to leave tennis. And that she isn’t enthusiastic when she does think about it.
“There is no happiness in this topic for me,” she writes. “I know it’s not the usual thing to say, but I feel a great deal of pain. It’s the hardest thing that I could ever imagine. I hate it. I hate that I have to be at this crossroads. I keep saying to myself, I wish it could be easy for me, but it’s not. I’m torn: I don’t want it to be over, but at the same time I’m ready for what’s next.”
Though she’s vague about the timeline for her shift, Williams notes that she’s turning 41 this month “and something’s got to give,” she writes.
Williams reveals that she and Ohanian have been trying to have another child and “recently got some information from my doctor that put my mind at ease and made me feel that whenever we’re ready, we can add to our family.”
But, she says, “I definitely don’t want to be pregnant again as an athlete. I need to be two feet into tennis or two feet out.”
In addition to expanding a family, Williams seems excited to continue her work with Serena Ventures.
Nevertheless, she recalls this spring feeling the itch to get back on the court for the first time in seven months.
“It felt magical to pick up a racket again,” she writes. “And I was good. I was really good. I went back and forth about whether to play Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open after that.”
The 23-time Grand Slam winner is playing at the Canadian Open in Toronto this week and is set to take the court for the U.S. Open in New York starting Aug. 29.
“I’m not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment,” she writes. “I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst.”
As for her legacy, Williams admits she doesn’t like to think about it.
“I’d like to think that thanks to opportunities afforded to me, women athletes feel that they can be themselves on the court. They can play with aggression and pump their fists. They can be strong yet beautiful. They can wear what they want and say what they want and kick butt and be proud of it all,” she writes. “I’m far from perfect, but I’ve also taken a lot of criticism, and I’d like to think that I went through some hard times as a professional tennis player so that the next generation could have it easier.”