Toronto – Serena Williams said on Tuesday that she is “evolving away from tennis” and detailed her upcoming retirement from the sport that she dominated for the majority of her career with 23 Grand Slam singles titles.
Williams played only her second singles match since she returned to action at Wimbledon in June after a year-long absence from competition, beating Nuria Parrizas Diaz of Spain to reach the second round of the Toronto Open on Monday.
But the 40-year-old said after that match that she could see the light at the end of the tennis tunnel in her career before suggesting the United States Open starting this month could be her swansong.
“I have never liked the word retirement,” Williams wrote in a Vogue article. “It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I’ve been thinking of this 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’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.
“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 won her last Grand Slam five years ago and has been chasing an elusive 24th crown that will draw her level with Margaret Court who holds the record for most majors.
She came tantalisingly close to achieving that feat, featuring in four major finals since giving birth to daughter Olympia five years ago.
“There are people who say I’m not the GOAT (greatest of all time) because I didn’t pass Court’s record, which she achieved before the ‘Open era’ that began in 1968,” former world No. 1 Williams said.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that record. Obviously I do. But day to day, I’m really not thinking about her. If I’m in a Slam final, then yes, I’m thinking about that record. Maybe I thought about it too much, and that didn’t help.”
Williams later talked in an Instagram post about the time to move in a “different direction”.
“That time is always hard when you love something so much,” she added. “My goodness do I enjoy tennis.
“But now, the countdown has begun. I have to focus on being a mom, my spiritual goals, and finally discovering a different, but just as exciting Serena. I’m gonna relish these next few weeks.”