Serena Williams Says She’s ‘Evolving’ Away From Tennis: ‘I’m Ready for What’s Next’

Serena Williams in action at the Australian Open in MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 24, 2016. (Credit: Deposit Photos)

Serena Williams says she is looking forward to the next chapter of her life as she makes plans to leave tennis.

In an essay published by Vogue magazine on Tuesday, the 23-time Grand Slam champion reveals she will say goodbye to tennis after the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 29.

“I have never liked the word retirement,” she writes. “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.”

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(L-R) Venus Williams and Serena Williams speak onstage during the 27th Annual Critics Choice Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on March 13, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association)
Venus Williams and Serena Williams supported the film ‘King Richard’ at the Critics Choice Awards on March 13, 2022. (Getty Images for Critics Choice Association)

The Compton native is about to turn 41 and says she’s been preparing for the next chapter of her life for some time.

“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,” she writes.

She explains that her daughter Olympia, with Reddit co-founder husband Alexis Ohanian, wants to be a big sister. In Williams’ words, “something’s got to give.”

“Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family,” she writes. “I don’t think it’s fair. If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labor of expanding our family. Maybe I’d be more of a Tom Brady if I had that opportunity. Don’t get me wrong: I love being a woman, and I loved every second of being pregnant with Olympia.”

The tennis champion will play in the Canadian Open this week, before taking the court at the U.S. Open in New York.

“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 writes, adding a message to her fans. “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.”