Appearing on the cover of Vogue, Serena Williams has a message to share with the world: after thirty record-breaking years on the court, she has decided to put away her racket and shoes for the last time, leaving the sport she's known and loved for most of her life. She will give it her all at the U.S. Open, starting August 29, but after that, she's ready to move "in a different direction." Here's what she had to say about this bittersweet moment in her life.
Just one day after she won her first singles match in 430 days at the Canadian Open, Serena took to her Instagram to repost the Vogue article and announce her retirement. "There comes a time in life when we have to decide to move in a different direction," she captioned the photo. "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."
Although Serena is well aware of the impact this news will have on the world, she maintained in the article that she has "never liked the word retirement." Clarifying her plans further, she said, "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." As for what she was referring to here, Serena made it clear she plans to focus on her family. She and her husband, Alexis Ohanian, are parents to four-year-old Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. After admitting to Vogue that she resented having to choose between tennis and a family, Serena explained that as she turns 41, "something's got to give."
Acknowledging her recent loss at Wimbledon, Williams noted that she would give it her all at the U.S. Open, hoping for one last win. Whatever the outcome, Serena told Vogue she is not expecting a big send-off. "I'm not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment. I'm terrible at goodbyes, the world's worst." With 73 career singles titles, 23 doubles titles with her sister Venus, and two mixed doubles titles under her belt, there's no doubt: Her legacy will be remembered forever.