Serena Williams says she will retire from tennis: Live Updates – The New York Times

Serena Williams says she will retire from tennis: Live Updates - The New York Times

Serena Williams, the 23-time Grand Slam champion and a cultural touchstone since winning her first US Open in 1999, said in a magazine article published on Tuesday that she planned to retire from the sport after playing again in the tournament, which starts next. this month.

Williams, who long ago both changed and transcended tennis and became a beacon of fashion, entertainment and business, changing the way people inside and outside of sports viewed female athletes, said in a so-told cover story for Vogue that she “never liked the word retirement” and preferred the word “development” to describe her next steps. “I’m developing away from tennis, to other things that are important to me,” including working with her venture capital firm and raising his family.

She was not explicit about when she might stop playing but suggested on Instagram that the US Open could be her last tournament, leaving the door ever so slightly open to continue or return, as players who walk away from the game often do. “The countdown has begun,” she said, adding, “I’m going to enjoy these next few weeks.”

Williams is competing at US Open qualifying tournaments, this week in Toronto and next week in Cincinnati.

Walking off the stage this year at the US Open would be a fitting end to Williams’ storied career. She won her first Grand Slam title therein 1999, when she was just 17 years old, or 23 years ago, a number that equals her career Grand Slam singles tally.

“It feels like the right exclamation point, the right ending,” said Pam Shriver, a former player and tennis commentator who was one of the great doubles champions of the 1980s. “No matter her result, it’s a conclusion that feels a lot better than last year at Wimbledon.”

At Wimbledon in 2021, Williams was forced to withdraw from her first round match after only 34 minutes when she slipped and tore her butt.

The injury sidelined her for almost a year. In fact, Shriver and others thought it was most likely that Williams might never officially retire but instead drift into the existence she assumed for nearly a year after her tearful Wimbledon exit.

This spring, however, Williams said she is eager to play competitively again. In the Vogue story, she said that Tiger Woods convinced her to commit to training hard for two weeks and see what happened. She did not immediately take his advice but later started hitting and signed up for the doubles competition at a Wimbledon qualifying event.

At Wimbledon in June, she played a brave but inconsistent three-hour, first-round match but lost to Harmony Tan of France7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (7), during which she showed flashes of the power and touch that once made her nearly invincible.

Williams said that she and her husband, Alexis Ohanianplanned to have another child.

“In the last year, Alexis and I have been trying to have another child, and we just received some information from my doctor that put my mind at ease and made me feel that whenever we are ready, we can add to our family. I definitely don’t want to be pregnant again as an athlete. I have to be two feet into tennis or two feet out.”

Williams’ last Grand Slam tournament victory came while she was pregnant during the 2017 Australian Open.

“Unfortunately I wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon this year,” Williams said. “And I don’t know if I’ll be ready to win New York. But I will try. And the previous tournaments will be fun.”

Williams won nearly $100 million in prize money.

For now, Williams is second after Margaret Court of Australia in Grand Slam singles championships, a record she had several chances to tie and then surpass in 2018 and 2019 when she lost four Grand Slam finals without winning a set. Yet few in tennis believe that shortfall should in any way tarnish the legacy Williams leaves behind as the greatest female tennis player, one of the greatest players, and one of the greatest athletes in any sport.

Beyond all the championships – she won 73 singles titles, 23 in doubles, two in mixed doubles and played on four Olympic teams, winning four gold medals – that may be her greatest legacy.

With her unique blend of power, strength, speed, touch and the tennis intelligence that produced her dominance, Williams obliterated any distinction between great male and female tennis players and athletes as no woman had done before. This was no accident, Williams would sometimes interrupt journalists during press conferences if they identified her as one of the greatest female tennis players.

“Tennis player,” she said.

“Tennis player,” journalists would say, and then continue with the question.

Her fellow professionals barely resisted. Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, the great men’s tennis players of the 21st century – and the greatest the game has ever produced – spoke of Williams as one of them.

Last year at the US Open, as the pressure mounted on Djokovic to win one last championship to complete a rare calendar Grand Slam, he spoke of how only Williams could understand what he was going through.

Williams came into the US Open in 2015 having won the first three Grand Slam singles titles of the year but lost to the unranked Roberta Vinci of Italy in the semi-finals in three sets after winning the first. A title at that US Open would have given her a fifth consecutive Grand Slam singles championship, as she had already won four consecutive Grand Slam singles titles for the second time. This feat became known as the “Serena Slam”.


9 August 2022

An earlier version of this article misstated Serena Williams’ age when she first won the US Open in 1999. She was 17, not 18.

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