Serena Williams

Serena Williams set to retire from tennis imminently


Serena Williams has announced her imminent retirement from tennis.

The 23-time grand-slam champion won her first singles match for more than a year at the National Bank Open in Toronto on Monday evening but has revealed in a first-person piece for Vogue that she has decided to end her career.

“I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me,” she wrote.

Williams has committed to playing at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati next week as well as the US Open later this month, and it appears that will be her final tournament.

“Unfortunately I wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon this year,” said the 40-year-old.

“And 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.

“I know there’s a fan fantasy that I might have tied Margaret (Court on 24 slam singles titles) that day in London, then maybe beat her record in New York, and then at the trophy ceremony say, ‘See ya!’

“I get that. It’s a good fantasy. But I’m not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment. I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst.”

Williams revealed her motivation behind calling it quits is the desire to have a second child, and that she was trying for another baby during her absence from tennis for a year until Wimbledon this summer.

She returned to the sport early in 2018 following the birth of daughter Olympia the previous year having been pregnant when she won her last slam title at the Australian Open.

Serena Williams' 40 Greatest Moments! | US Open

“I’m turning 41 (in September), and something’s got to give,” she wrote in Vogue.

“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.

“I definitely don’t want to be pregnant again as an athlete. I need to be two feet into tennis or two feet out.”

Williams admitted the decision to leave tennis is a hard one, saying: “It’s the hardest thing that I could ever imagine. I hate it. I hate that I have to be at this crossroads. 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.

“I don’t know how I’m going to be able to look at this magazine when it comes out, knowing that this is it, the end of a story that started in Compton, California, with a little black girl who just wanted to play tennis.”

Serena Williams: Career in numbers

23 – Grand slam singles titles, the most in the Open era for any man or woman

7 – Australian Open and Wimbledon titles

6 – US Open titles

3 – French Open titles

39 – Grand slam titles overall

14 – Grand slam women’s doubles titles, all with sister Venus

2 – Grand slam mixed doubles titles

4 – Olympic gold medals, one in singles and three in women’s doubles

73 – Overall singles titles

407 – Current world ranking

12 – Players ranked number one Williams has beaten to win her slam singles titles

9 – Grand slam finals against Venus, seven won by Serena

18 – Seasons between her first grand slam title at the 1999 US Open and her last at the 2017 Australian Open

10 – Losses in grand slam singles finals

0 – Losses in grand slam women’s doubles finals

5 – WTA Finals titles

10 – Grand slam titles won past the age of 30

4 – Grand slam finals reached following the birth of daughter Olympia

34 – The longest match winning streak of her career, from February to June, 2013

7 – Number of times she won matches 6-0 6-0

17 – Games lost in six matches on her way to singles gold at the 2012 Olympics

319 – Weeks at world number one

186 – Consecutive weeks ranked number one, from February 2013 to September 2016, equalling Steffi Graf’s record

35 – At 35 years, four months and two days when she triumphed in Australia in 2017, Williams is the oldest woman to win a singles grand slam title

128 – The fastest serve of Williams’ career was clocked at 128.3mph at the Australian Open in 2013

30 – Career matches against sister Venus, with Serena winning 18

94,588,910 – Career prize money, in US dollars

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