Serena Williams says she plans to retire from tennis

Serena Williams doesn’t like the word retirement.

But, as she wrote in a column published by Vogue on Tuesday morning, “something has to give.”

In that column, the 23-time Grand Slam champion announced her career as a tennis player will soon come to an end. She is playing this week in an event in Toronto and indicated she intends to play in the U.S. Open later this month in New York.

“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 wrote, as told to Rob Haskell. “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.”

Williams grew up in Compton. She and her older sister Venus learned to play tennis on public courts with their father, Richard, as their coach. She has won Wimbledon and the Australian Open seven times each, along with six U.S. Open titles and three at the French Open. No one has won more Grand Slams in the Open era, and only Margaret Court has won more (24).

She won her final Grand Slam title at the 2017 Australian Open, beating her sister in the finals. Serena Williams later revealed she was 20 weeks pregnant at the time. After giving birth to Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. in September of that year, Williams returned to Grand Slam tennis at the 2018 French Open and went on to finish runner-up at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2018 and 2019.

“I don’t know if I will be ready to win New York. But I’m going to try. And the lead-up tournaments will be fun,” Williams wrote. “I know there’s a fan fantasy that I might have tied Margaret that day in London, then maybe beat her record in New York, and then at the trophy ceremony say, ‘See ya!’ 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 world’s worst. 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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