Serena Williams says ‘countdown has begun’ on tennis career
(AP) – Serena Williams says she is preparing to step away from tennis after winning 23 Grand Slam titles, turning her focus to having another child and her business interests.
“I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give,” Williams wrote in an essay released Tuesday by Vogue magazine. Williams said she does not like the word retirement and prefers to think of this stage of her life as “evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.”
Williams is playing this week in Toronto, at a hard-court tournament that leads into the U.S. Open, the year’s last Grand Slam event, which begins in New York on Aug. 29.
Williams was not completely clear on the timeline for her last match, but hints in the essay that the U.S. Open will be her last tournament but does not say so explicitly.
Williams, one of the greatest and most accomplished athletes in the history of her — or any other — sport, wrote in the essay that she does not like the word “retirement” and prefers to think of this stage of her life as “evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.”
“I feel a great deal of pain. It’s the hardest thing that I could ever imagine. I hate it. I hate that I have to be at this crossroads,” she wrote. “I keep saying to myself, I wish it could be easy for me, but it’s not. I’m torn: I don’t want it to be over, but at the same time I’m ready for what’s next.”
She also owns 14 Grand Slam doubles championships, all won with her older sister, Venus, part of a remarkable tale of two siblings from Compton, California, who grew up to both be ranked No. 1, win dozens of trophies and dominate tennis for stretches — a story told in the Oscar-winning film “King Richard.”