Serena Williams Announces Retirement from Tennis: “I Feel a Great Deal of Pain”

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The G.O.A.T. is retiring. That’s right, as many fans knew in the back in their head that Serena Williams, arguably, one of the greatest of all time to play the game of tennis, would one day retire. Well, that day has come. In a Vogue article, Williams, who turns 41 next month, said that she will retire after the U.S. Open, which begins in late August. A win at the tournament would tie her with Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slam titles.

“I have never liked the word retirement,” Williams wrote in the article, which was transcribed from her conversation with Vogue contributor Rob Haskell. “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.”

Williams cited her family as the main reason why she will step away from the sport, writing that her 4-year-old daughter Olympia wants to be a big sister. Williams has been married to Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian since 2017.

The desire to expand her family, however, wouldn’t be a career-ending move if she were a man, Williams points out.

“Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family,” she wrote. “I don’t think it’s fair. If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labor of expanding our family.”

“Maybe I’d be more of a Tom Brady if I had that opportunity,” Williams wrote, pointing to football legend Brady, 45, who has three children and played in the NFL for 22 seasons before announcing his retirement in February, before changing his mind and announcing that he would be returning for his 23rd NFL season just one month later.

“Don’t get me wrong: I love being a woman, and I loved every second of being pregnant with Olympia,” she said, adding that she was “one of those annoying women who adored being pregnant and was working until the day I had to report to the hospital—although things got super complicated on the other side. And I almost did do the impossible: A lot of people don’t realize that I was two months pregnant when I won the Australian Open in 2017. But I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give.”

June 28, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

“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. A few years ago I quietly started Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm. Soon after that, I started a family. I want to grow that family.”

“But I’ve been reluctant to admit to myself or anyone else that I have to move on from playing tennis. Alexis, my husband, and I have hardly talked about it; it’s like a taboo topic. 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 up, I get an uncomfortable lump in my throat, and I start to cry. The only person I’ve really gone there with is my therapist! One thing I’m not going to do is sugarcoat this. I know that a lot of people are excited about