Serena Williams plans to retire from tennis soon: "I will be 41 this month and something has to give"

NEW YORK (AP) — Serena Williams says she’s ready to walk away from tennis after winning 23 Grand Slam titles, focusing on having another child and her business interests.

“I will be 41 this month and something has to give,” Williams wrote in an essay published Tuesday by Fashion magazine.

Williams, one of the greatest and most successful athletes in the history of her sport, or any other, said she doesn’t like the word retirement and prefers to think of this stage of her life as “an evolution away from tennis and towards about other things.” that are important to me.”

Williams is playing this week in Toronto, in a hard-court tournament leading up to the US Open, the final Grand Slam event of the year, which begins in New York on August 29.

The American has won more Grand Slam singles titles in the professional era than any other woman or man. Only one player, Margaret Court, collected more, 24, although she did earn a share of hers in the amateur era.

“I would be lying if I said I don’t want that record. Obviously I do. But day by day, I’m not really thinking about her. If I’m in a Grand Slam final, then yes, I’m thinking about that record,” Williams said. “Maybe I thought about it too much, and that didn’t help. The way I see it, he should have had more than 30 Grand Slams.”

But Williams went on to write: “These days, if I have to choose between building my tennis resume and building my family, I choose the latter.”

She and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, have a daughter, Olympia, who turns 5 on September 1.

“Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair,” said Williams, who was pregnant when she won the 2017 Australian Open for her last Grand Slam trophy. “If I were a man, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical work of expanding our family.”

Williams was off tour for about a year after being injured during her first-round match at Wimbledon in 2021. She returned to singles competition at the All England Club this June, losing in the first round.

After that loss, Williams was asked if he would compete again.

“That’s a question I can’t answer,” he said at the time. “I don’t know. …Who knows? Who knows where I’ll show up?

Williams hints in the essay that the US Open will be her last tournament, but does not say so explicitly.

“I am not looking for a final ceremonial moment on the court,” Williams wrote. “I’m terrible at goodbyes, the worst thing in the world.”

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