Serena Williams is preparing to retire from tennis.
She announced the news in a first-person essay on Vogue.com, explaining she sees it more as an “evolution.”
Williams explained, "I've been reluctant to admit to myself or anyone else that I have to move on from playing tennis. Alexis [Ohanian], my husband, and I have hardly talked about it; it's like a taboo topic. I can't even have this conversation with my mom and dad. It's like it's not real until you say it out loud.”
She went on, "It comes up, I get an uncomfortable lump in my throat, and I start to cry. The only person I've really gone there with is my therapist! One thing I'm not going to do is sugarcoat this. I know that a lot of people are excited about and look forward to retiring, and I really wish I felt that way."
Williams is looking forward to expanding her family, writing, “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.”
Serena expanded on being a mom: "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. Maybe I'd be more of a Tom Brady if I had that opportunity. Don't get me wrong: I love being a woman, and I loved every second of being pregnant with Olympia... But I'm turning 41 this month, and something's got to give."
The athlete didn’t spell out exactly when she plans to retire, but it sounds like the U.S. Open could be her last tournament.
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon this year. 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.”
She added on Instagram, “There comes a time in life when we have to decide to move in a different direction. That time is always hard when you love something so much. My goodness do I enjoy tennis. But now, the countdown has begun. I have to focus on being a mom, my spiritual goals and finally discovering a different, but just exciting Serena. I'm gonna relish these next few weeks.”
Williams, who launched her career in 1995 at just 14 years old, is considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time.