Serena Williams says she will retire from tennis: live updates

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

Williams, who long ago both changed and transcended tennis and became a fashion, entertainment and business beacon, changing the way people inside and outside the sport perceive female athletes, said in a cover story for Vogue that she “never liked the word retirement” and prefers the word “evolution” to describe her next steps. “I’m evolving away from tennis, towards other things that are important to me”, including working with his venture capital firm and grow his family.

She didn’t say when she might stop acting, but hinted on Instagram that the US Open could be her last tournament while leaving the door very slightly open to continue or return, as players who walk away from the game often do. “The countdown has begun,” she said. said, adding, “I’m going to savor these next few weeks.”

Williams is competing in US Open tune-up tournaments this week in Toronto and next week in Cincinnati.

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

“It feels like the right exclamation point, the right ending,” said Pam Shriver, a former tennis player and commentator who was one of the great doubles champions of the 1980s. it’s a conclusion that feels much better than last year at Wimbledon.”

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

The injury kept her away for almost a year. In fact, Shriver and others thought it highly likely that Williams would never officially retire, but rather drift into the existence she assumed for nearly a year following her tearful exit from Wimbledon.

This spring, however, Williams said she wanted to play competitively again. In Vogue’s story, she said Tiger Woods convinced her to commit to training hard for two weeks and see what happens. She didn’t immediately take his advice but eventually started knocking and signed up to compete in doubles at a tune-up event at Wimbledon.

At Wimbledon in June, she played a spirited 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 had once made her almost unbeatable.

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

“Over the past year, Alexis and I have been trying to have another child, and we recently received information from my doctor that reassured me and made me feel that whenever we are ready, we we can expand our family. I absolutely don’t want to be pregnant again as an athlete. I have to be two feet in tennis or two feet.

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

“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 preparatory tournaments will be fun.

Williams won nearly $100 million in prize money.

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

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

With her unique blend of power, strength, speed, touch and the tennis intelligence that produced her dominance, Williams overshadowed any distinction between great male and female tennis players and athletes like no woman ever could. had done it before. It wasn’t accidental, Williams would sometimes interrupt reporters at press conferences if they identified her as one of the greatest female tennis players.

“Tennis player”, she said.

“Tennis player,” the reporters said, then continued with the question.

His professional colleagues 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 – have spoken of Williams as one of them.

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

Williams came to the US Open in 2015 having won the first three Grand Slam singles titles of the year, but lost to Roberta Vinci, unranked of Italy in the semi-final in three sets after winning the first. A title at this 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”.


August 9, 2022

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

Leave a Comment