Photo Credit: David Gray/AFP via Getty Images
After the 2022 US Open, tennis legend Serena Williams claimed she would “evolve away from tennis” in order to devote her attention to other priorities. Williams stated in an interview with Vogue that she would still try her hardest to win the competition but that it might be her last since she is now willing to go in a different way.
The 23-time grand slam champion was featured in a Vogue photo with the caption “Serena’s Farewell… I’m terrible at goodbyes.'” Williams later wrote on Instagram using the photo, “There comes a time in life when we have to decide to move in a different direction.”
“That time is always hard when you love something so much. My goodness, do I enjoy tennis. But now, the countdown has begun. 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,” Williams said.
In Toronto, during the Canadian Open, Williams announced her graceful retirement after winning a singles match. She hasn’t won a match in 430 days.
After a brief break, Williams competed at Wimbledon in June but was defeated by Frenchwoman Harmony Tan. She later suggested that she would take part in the US Open, which begins on August 29.
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Williams said in an interview with the press: “I have never liked the word retirement. 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.”
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon this year. And I don’t know if I will be ready to win New York. But I’m going to try,” she added.
Williams, over the years
Since her debut in 1995, Williams has been regarded as one of the most dominant women in world tennis. The presence of her sister Venus adds to her growing popularity and dominance. Together with Williams, they have won many grand slams in singles and doubles tennis tournaments.
William has won 73 singles titles, 23 doubles titles, and two mixed doubles trophies during the course of her career. Thirty-nine of those titles are grand slams; of these, 23 were won in singles competitions, 12 in doubles competitions, and two in mixed doubles competitions. Williams and Margaret Court, a legendary Australian tennis player, are separated by just one grand slam.
“I should have had it, really, I should — I’ve had many opportunities to have it. But I’m not giving up, to answer your question,” Williams answered after she was asked if she wanted to defeat Court’s record.
“I know there’s a fan fantasy that I might have tied Margaret that day in London, then maybe beat her record in New York, and then at the trophy ceremony say, ‘See ya!’ I get that. It’s a good fantasy. But I’m not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment. I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst,” added Williams.
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In addition to her four Olympic gold medals, Williams has earned $94.5 million in career prize money throughout the years. The amount represents the highest prize money ever awarded to a female athlete in the field.
“I get asked about it a lot, and I never know exactly what to say. But I’d like to think that thanks to the 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.
“Over the years, I hope that people come to think of me as symbolizing something bigger than tennis,” stated Williams.