Legendary tennis champion Serena Williams has announced her plans to “evolve” into a new stage of her life and leave competitive tennis after this year’s U.S. Open. The 40-year-old athlete wrote in an essay for Vogue’s September 2022 cover that she’d prefer not to use the word “retirement.”
“I have never liked the word retirement,” Williams wrote. “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.”
Williams explained that her venture capital firm, Serena Ventures, began a few years ago and she plans to spend more of her energy and time with its development. It became even more important to her after she realized only two percent of VC money is given to women-led projects.
“I kind of understood then and there that someone who looks like me needs to start writing the big checks,” she wrote.
The trophy winner also says she her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, are planning to add to their family. They currently have one daughter, 4-year-old Olympia. Williams says that the decision between tennis and a family is a tough one, and one she doesn’t think her male counterparts would face.
“Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family,” Williams explained, after saying Olympia has been asking for a baby sister. “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.”
Williams has won the Australian Open women's singles championship and Wimbledon seven times each, the French Open three times, and is a six-time U.S. Open victor. You can read the rest of her essay here.