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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Serena Williams says ‘countdown has begun’ to retire

Saying that “the countdown has begun,” the 23-time Grand Slam Champion Serena Williams announced on Tuesday that he is ready to step away from tennis so that he can focus on another child and his business interests, predicting the end of a career Who got ahead of the game.

In an essay released Tuesday by Vogue magazine, and a post on Instagram – Direct-to-fan communication favored by celebrities these days, a category she most certainly fits – Williams wasn’t entirely clear on the timeline for her last match, but she did sound Like at the US OpenWhich starts on August 29 in New York.

“There comes a time in life when we have to decide to move in a different direction. Those times are always tough when you love something so much. My goodness I enjoy tennis. But now, the countdown has begun,” Williams, who turns 41 next month, wrote on Instagram. “I have to focus on being a mom, my spiritual goals, and finally the quest for a different, but exciting Serena. I’m going to enjoy these next few weeks.”

Williams, one of the greatest and most accomplished athletes in the history of his – or any other – sport, wrote in the essay that he does not like the word “retirement” and thinks of this phase of his life as “growing up”. I prefer tennis, to other things that are important to me.”

“I’m in so much pain. This is the hardest thing I could ever imagine. I hate it. I hate that I have to live at this crossroads,” she wrote. “I keep telling myself I wish it was easy for me, but it is not. I’m torn: I don’t want it to end, but at the same time I’m ready for what lies ahead.

That she may be publicly contemplating the end of her playing days isn’t surprising, given her age – she has 10 Grand Slam titles unsurpassed since turning 30 – her history of injuries and her recent record: One win in a singles match last 12 months (that win reached Toronto on Monday; she is due to play again on Wednesday).

“Serena Williams belongs to a generation, if not multi-generational, talent who had a profound impact on the game of tennis, but an even greater impact on women in sport, business and society. At a time when our country and As the world wrestles with essential issues of identity, Serena stands as a singular example of the best of humanity after breaking down countless barriers to her participation and eventual success,” said US Open tournament director Stacey Allaster. “She leaves an indelible legacy of grace and grit that will inspire athletes, female and male, for many generations to come. We cannot thank her enough for all she has done for our sport.”

Williams’ status as an athlete and a groundbreaker is clear to all.

She was the first black woman since Althea Gibson to win a Grand Slam title in 1958; Williams and her older sister, seven-time major singles champion Venus, helped broaden the game’s audience and attract new players.

“I grew up watching him. I mean, that’s why I play tennis,” Coco Gauff, an 18-year-old African-American who was runner-up at this year’s French Open, said Tuesday. Being a predominantly white game, it certainly helped a lot, as I saw someone who seemed to dominate the game. And it made me believe that I can dominate, too.”

US Tennis Association spokesman Chris Widmeier said the organization “will operate under the assumption that this will be Serena Williams’ last US Open.”

It is the last Grand Slam event of the year and one she has won six times, most recently in 2014, with seven titles at Wimbledon and the Australian Open, as well as three titles at the French Open, during a career notable for her. Its longevity.

She also owns 14 Grand Slam doubles championships, all won with Venus, which is part of a remarkable story of two siblings from Compton, Calif., both growing up to reach No. 1, winning dozens of trophies and stretching across the globe. Dominated tennis for her – a story told in the Oscar-winning film “King Richard”.

Venus, who is 42 and still competing, was the first woman in the family to reach her first Grand Slam final at the 1997 US Open. But Serena soon surpassed her sister, winning the 1999 US Open at age 17 and then winning 22 more such (Venus won seven major singles titles), eventually establishing herself as a one-of-a-kind superstar. installed. , is known for more than just her talent for racket in hand.

The little Williams was armed with as impressive serve as ever, powerful forehands and backhands, instinct and speed that allowed her to cover every inch of the court and convert from defense to offense in a wink, and a keen desire to win. Was. That unshakeable desire to be the best has helped her be the best – and sometimes got her in trouble with chair umpires during matches, most notably during the 2018 US Open final she lost to Naomi Osaka, the younger woman in more than a decade. Gone, who had grown up. To idolize Williams, as are many of today’s players.

Wimbledon’s official Twitter feed posted this message on top of a photo of Williams on Tuesday: “Some play the game. Others change it.”

“I don’t particularly like to think about my heritage. I get asked a lot about it, and I don’t really know what to say. But I’d like to think about the opportunities I’ve given to women athletes. Looks like they might be on the court themselves,” Williams wrote. “They can play with aggression and pump their fists. They can be strong but beautiful. They can wear whatever they want and say whatever they want and can kick butt and be proud of it.

The American has won more Grand Slam singles titles than any other woman or man in the professional era. Only one player, Margaret Court, collected 24, more, although the Australian won a share of that in the amateur era.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that record. Obviously I do. But day to day, I’m not really thinking about that. If I’m in a Grand Slam final, then yes, I’m going to have that record.” I’m thinking about it,” Williams said. “Maybe I thought about it too much, and it didn’t help. The way I look at it, I should have had more than 30 Grand Slams.”

But, Williams continued, “These days, if I have to choose between building my tennis resume and building my family, I choose the latter.”

She and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, have a daughter, Olympia, who turns 5 on September 1.

“Trust me, I never wanted to choose between tennis and family. I don’t think that’s fair,” said Williams, who was pregnant when she won the 2017 Australian Open for her last Grand Slam trophy. “If I were a boy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I would play and win there while my wife was doing physical labor to expand our family.”

Williams said she and Ohanian want a second child, and she wrote: “I definitely don’t want to get pregnant again as an athlete. I need to be two feet or two feet out in tennis.”

She was out of the tour for almost a year after suffering an injury during her first round match at Wimbledon in 2021. She returned to singles competition at the All England Club this June and lost in the first round.

“Unfortunately I wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon this year. And I don’t know if I’ll be ready to win New York,” Williams wrote in his essay. “But I’m going to try.”

Williams indicated in a Vogue essay that the US Open would be her last tournament but did not explicitly say so.

“I’m not looking for some formal, final on-court moment,” Williams wrote. “I’m terrible at goodbye, the worst in the world.”


More Associated Press Tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/ Associated Press_Sports

World Nation News Desk
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