Serena Williams, the 23-time Grand Slam tennis champion, is retiring from the sport.
“I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me,” Williams said in a Vogue essay announcing her intentions to stop playing in the near future. She cited her age, 41, and the fact that she and husband Alex Ohanian would like to expand their family, as reasons for the decision. Their daughter, Olympia, is 4.
Acknowledging that the choice to retire would not be one she’d have to make at this time if she were a male athlete — “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,” she writes. “Maybe I’d be more of a Tom Brady if I had that opportunity.” — Williams states that “something’s got to give.”
In the long and detailed essay, Williams notes that she was two months pregnant with Olympia when she won the Australian Open in 2017. “I definitely don’t want to be pregnant again as an athlete,” she writes. “I need to be two feet into tennis or two feet out.”
Williams’ next tournament is the U.S. Open, which runs Aug. 29 to Sept. 11 in New York.
“Unfortunately I wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon this year. And I don’t know if I will be ready to win New York,” she writes. “But I’m going to try.”
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