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By Sky Sports

Serena Williams says she has “never liked the word retirement”, but that she is “evolving away from tennis” after winning 23 Grand Slams across her iconic career; US Open could prove to be her farewell tournament.

Serena Williams has announced her upcoming retirement from tennis as she admitted on Tuesday she is “evolving away” from the sport.

The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion made just her second appearance of the year this week as she defeated Nuria Parrizas at the National Bank Open in Toronto.

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She admitted afterwards she was “getting close to the light at the end of the tunnel” with regards to her remarkable career, before furthering that statement with a Vogue article in which she alluded towards walking away.

“I have never liked the word retirement,” Williams wrote in Vogue. “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.

Serena Williams Grand Slam singles titles

Australian Open2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2017
French Open2002, 2013, 2015
Wimbledon2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016
US Open1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014

“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.

“I’ve been reluctant to admit that I have to move on from playing tennis. It’s like a taboo topic. It comes up, and I start to cry. I think the only person I’ve really gone there with is my therapist.”

Williams noted that her and her partner Alexis are trying for another child, and that she did not want to be pregnant as an athlete again. In the piece she recalls that she had been two months pregnant with daughter Olympia when she won the Australian Open in 2017.

The 40-year-old was knocked out by Harmony Tan at Wimbledon in her first singles match for a year earlier this summer, but has her sights set on the US Open in what could prove her farewell tournament.

“Unfortunately I wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon this year,” she added in the article. “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.

“I know there’s a fan fantasy that I might have tied Margaret that day in London, then maybe beat her record in New York, and then at the trophy ceremony say, ‘See ya!’ I get that. It’s a good fantasy. But I’m not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment. I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst.”

Williams’ last Grand Slam title came in 2017 to take her tally to 23, leaving her one shy of a 24th that would bring her level with Margaret Court’s record for most majors.

“There are people who say I’m not the GOAT (greatest of all time) because I didn’t pass Court’s record, which she achieved before the ‘Open era’ that began in 1968,” Williams said.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that record. Obviously I do. But day to day, I’m really not thinking about her. If I’m in a Slam final, then yes, I’m thinking about that record. Maybe I thought about it too much, and that didn’t help.”

Williams underlined her imminent retirement by suggesting “the countdown has begun”, noting that she was “relishing” what could be the final few weeks of her career.

“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.

“I’ve been reluctant to admit that I have to move on from playing tennis. It’s like a taboo topic. It comes up, and I start to cry. I think the only person I’ve really gone there with is my therapist.”

Williams noted that her and her partner Alexis are trying for another child, and that she did not want to be pregnant as an athlete again. In the piece she recalls that she had been two months pregnant with daughter Olympia when she won the Australian Open in 2017.

The 40-year-old was knocked out by Harmony Tan at Wimbledon in her first singles match for a year earlier this summer, but has her sights set on the US Open in what could prove her farewell tournament.

“Unfortunately I wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon this year,” she added in the article. “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.

“I know there’s a fan fantasy that I might have tied Margaret that day in London, then maybe beat her record in New York, and then at the trophy ceremony say, ‘See ya!’ I get that. It’s a good fantasy. But I’m not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment. I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst.”

Williams’ last Grand Slam title came in 2017 to take her tally to 23, leaving her one shy of a 24th that would bring her level with Margaret Court’s record for most majors.

“There are people who say I’m not the GOAT (greatest of all time) because I didn’t pass Court’s record, which she achieved before the ‘Open era’ that began in 1968,” Williams said.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that record. Obviously I do. But day to day, I’m really not thinking about her. If I’m in a Slam final, then yes, I’m thinking about that record. Maybe I thought about it too much, and that didn’t help.”

Williams underlined her imminent retirement by suggesting “the countdown has begun”, noting that she was “relishing” what could be the final few weeks of her career.

Source: Sky Sport

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