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'It's the Hardest Thing That I Could Ever Imagine': Serena Williams Pens Bittersweet Goodbye as She Announces Retirement from Tennis

The tennis star announced her retirement from the sport on Tuesday in an essay published in Vogue.


It's the end of an era.

Robert Prange | Getty Images

Legendary tennis player Serena Williams announced her retirement from professional tennis on Tuesday in a self-written essay for Vogue.

Williams has won 23 grand slam singles titles including Wimbledon and the Australian Open seven times each. She's considered to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time and is referred to by many as the G.O.A.T. Williams has won 73 career singles titles, 23 doubles titles, and two mixed doubles titles over the course of her decades-long career. She won her first major title at just 17 years old after beating Martina Hingis at the U.S. Open in 1999. Williams is also a four-time Olympic gold medalist.

"I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn't feel like a modern word to me," Williams wrote in Vogue, where she is also the September 2022 cover star. "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."

Williams told readers that she was torn about whether or not to continue playing professional tennis.

"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."

Williams and her husband, Reddit founder, Alexis Ohanian, are parents to Olympia, 2. Williams famously won the Australian Open in 2017 when she was pregnant with her daughter. In the essay, Williams says that she is gearing up for baby number two, and that will come with its own set of challenges.

"In the last year, Alexis and I have been trying to have another child, and we recently got some information from my doctor that put my mind at ease and made me feel that whenever we're ready, we can add to our family," she wrote.

Williams also noted that her balance of interest "has been slowly shifting toward" her VC fund Serena Ventures, which recently raised $111 million in outside funding, something the athlete-turned-entrepreneur has been "so excited" about being a part of in her daily life.

The childhood of Williams and her sister, fellow tennis star Venus Williams, was recently dramatized in the Best Picture-nominated King Richard. Will Smith took home the Oscar in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role category for his role as Williams' father, Richard Williams.

Serena Williams is set to hit the court one final time later this month at the U.S. Open, a tournament she says she's not confident she's "ready" to win but says she is most certainly "going to try."

"I don't particularly like to think about my legacy. I get asked about it a lot, and I never know exactly what to say. But I'd like to think that thanks to opportunities afforded to me, women athletes feel that they can be themselves on the court," Williams penned. "I'm far from perfect, but I've also taken a lot of criticism, and I'd like to think that I went through some hard times as a professional tennis player so that the next generation could have it easier."

Serena Williams' net worth is an estimated $250 million.

Read her retirement essay in full here.

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