In an article in Vogue, the 23-time grand slam winner said that, although she will try to win at the US Open, it is time for her to move “in a different direction”.
“There comes a time in life when we have to decide to move in a different direction,” Williams posted on Instagram with a picture of herself on the cover of Vogue with the caption: “Serena’s Goodbye… I’m terrible at goodbyes.” .’
“That time is always difficult when you love something so much. God, do I enjoy tennis. But now, the countdown has begun. I have to focus on being a mom, my spiritual goals and finally discover a different, but just to excite Serena. . I will enjoy these next few weeks.”
She played her first singles match in over a year at Wimbledon in June, losing to Harmony Tan of France. Later, she hinted that she might play on home soil at the US Open, which starts on August 29.
However, in the article, Williams said: “I never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I thought of it 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 do is evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, to other things that are important to me.”
She continued: “Unfortunately I wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon this year. And I don’t know if I’ll be ready to win New York. But I’ll try.”
Since losing her professional debut in September 1995, Williams has become the most dominant force in women’s tennis in the last 30 years.
Along with her older sister Venus, the Williams sisters transformed the sport, making a regular habit of winning grand slams in both singles and doubles tennis.
At the time of writing, Serena has won 73 career singles titles, 23 doubles titles and two mixed doubles titles, which includes 39 grand slam titles – 23 singles titles, 14 doubles titles and two mixed doubles titles. She is one singles grand slam title behind the all-time record held by Australian Margaret Court.
When asked by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour earlier this year if she still wanted to beat Court’s record, she replied: “I should have it, really, I should — I’ve had a lot of chances to have it. But I don’t. up to answer your question.”
She addressed it later in Vogue, saying: “I know there’s a fan fantasy that maybe I tied Margaret that day in London, then maybe beat her record in New York, and then at the trophy ceremony say, ‘See you!'” I get that. It’s a good fantasy. But I’m not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment. I’m terrible at goodbyes, the worst in the world.”
The four-time Olympic gold medalist has earned more than $94.5 million in career prize money, more than any other female athlete.
Away from the court, Williams announced her engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian in 2016, giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.
And focusing on her young family, as well as her interests away from tennis, is why she’s deciding to walk away from the game she changed forever.
“Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and family. I don’t think it’s fair,” Williams explained. “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 work to expand our family.
“Maybe I would be more Tom Brady if I had that chance. Don’t get me wrong: I love being a woman, and I loved every second of being pregnant with Olympia. I was one of those annoying women who adored being pregnant and worked until the day , when I had to report to the hospital — even though things got super complicated on the other side. And I almost did the impossible: Many people don’t realize that I was two months pregnant when I won the Australian Open in 2017. But I turn 41 this month, and something has to give.”
The star also admitted that she doesn’t like to think about her legacy.
“I get asked a lot about this, and I never know exactly what to say. But I would like to think that thanks to opportunities given to me, female athletes feel that they can be themselves on the court. They can play with aggression. and pump their fists. They can be strong yet beautiful. They can wear what they want and say what they want and kick ass and be proud of it all.
“Over the years, I hope people think of me as symbolizing something bigger than tennis.”
CNN’s Amy Woodyatt contributed to this report.