Serena Williams Announces Retirement: “I’m Evolving Away From Tennis”

Jaelani Turner-Williams Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with…
Photo Credit: Robert Prange/Getty Images

Tennis icon Serena Williams has announced her “evolution” from the sport in a new Vogue profile.

After the U.S. Open, Serena Williams is stepping away from the court. The 23-time Grand Slam champion wrote a personal essay in the September 2022 issue of Vogue about her “evolution” from tennis, with striking images featuring her four-year-old daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.

Instead of using the word “retirement,” Williams wrote: “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.”

The No. 1 ranked women’s tennis player and four-time Olympic gold medalist also revealed that her end goal was to focus on her family, including husband Alexis Ohanian, and growing her career aside from tennis.

“But these days, if I have to choose between building my tennis résumé and building my family, I choose the latter … In the last year, Alexis and I have been trying to have another child, and we 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. I definitely don’t want to be pregnant again as an athlete. I need to be two feet into tennis or two feet out,” Williams wrote.

Earlier this year, Williams launched capital firm Serena Ventures — originally founded in 2014 — which has invested in start-up businesses including Noom, Masterclass and Tonal. In March, the firm raised $111 million with a focus on founders from underrepresented communities.

Although the end is near for Williams’ tennis career, the athlete and entrepreneur will play in the US Open in New York City, which begins at the end of August.

“I’m not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment. I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst,” she wrote. “But please know that I am more grateful for you than I can ever express in words. You have carried me to so many wins and so many trophies. I’m going to miss that version of me, that girl who played tennis. And I’m going to miss you.”

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