Tennis: Serena Williams, the beginning of the end
“The countdown is on”: it was with these words that Serena Williams, the star of world tennis, announced on Tuesday her upcoming retirement from the courts, after a 25-year career and 23 Grand Slam titles.
“There is a time in life when you have to decide to take a new road. It’s always a difficult time when you love what you do so much. And God knows I love tennis. But now the countdown is on,” says the 40-year-old American on her Instagram account and in an interview with Vogue magazine.
“I want to focus on my role as a mom, my goals on a spiritual level, to discover a new but equally exciting Serena,” she adds, saying she wants to “savor the next few weeks”.
“I don’t want to be pregnant anymore by being an athlete. I have to choose between having both feet in tennis or out. I’m going to be 41, so I have choices to make,” Serena also says. She plans to have a second child after her complicated pregnancy to give birth to Olympia in 2017.
“I never liked the word retirement. I don’t feel like it’s a modern word,” Serena says in Vogue. “I think of it as a transition and I want to use this word adequately, because it is a very specific and important word for many people”.
“Maybe what I want to describe is an evolution. I am evolving away from tennis, towards other things that are important to me,” she adds, also referring to her return to the courts this year.
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon this year. And I don’t know if I’ll be ready to win in New York. But I will try,” she assures.
– “Nothing for goodbyes” –
The former world No.1 does not indicate when she will retire but the US Open, which she has won six times and where she is still on the entry list this year, seems to be the right place for a farewell.
On Monday, the youngest of the Williams sisters won her first victory in more than a year at the WTA 1000 tournament in Toronto, six weeks after a first missed return to Wimbledon, after a year of absence.
The American, who will celebrate her 41st birthday on September 26th, won bravely against the Spaniard Nuria Parrizas (No.57) in straight sets (6-3, 6-4), winning her first success in more than a year.
His last singles victory on the WTA tour was on June 4, 2021, during a victorious 3rd round at Roland Garros, a few weeks before he forfeited the first round of Wimbledon due to a leg injury.
She then went away for almost a year, only making her singles return at Wimbledon at the end of June… where she was beaten from the start by the Frenchwoman Harmony Tan.
Seven times crowned in singles on the London grass and former undisputed world No.1, Serena Williams has today fallen back to 407th place in the world.
Her last Grand Slam title was more than five years ago, at the 2017 Australian Open. Since then, she has been running in vain behind a 24th coronation that would allow her to equal Margaret Court’s record.
“I know there is a fan fantasy that I could have matched Margaret”this year at Wimbledon”and then maybe beat her record in New York, and then at the trophy ceremony, say +A plus!+ I understand, it’s a beautiful dream! But I’m not looking for a ceremony, or a last moment on the field. I suck at goodbyes, the worst in the world,” she confides willingly.
While waiting for her to make her decision and announce it, in New York or later, elsewhere, her next appearance on the courts is scheduled for Wednesday in Toronto to try to secure a place in the 8th final against Belinda Bencic or Tereza Matincova.
It’s almost the end of the Williams saga, Serena has decided. “In a few years, I hope people will think of me as someone who has symbolized something bigger than tennis”.
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