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Serena Williams hints she will RETIRE from tennis soon: 'It's the hardest thing that I could ever imagine'

Rory O'Callaghan

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Serena Williams hints she will RETIRE from tennis soon: 'It's the hardest thing that I could ever imagine'

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Serena Williams has announced she is "evolving away from tennis" as she hinted at retiring from the sport soon.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion won her first singles match in over a year on Monday, beating world number 57 Nuria Parrizas Diaz in straight sets at the National Bank Open in Toronto.

After the match, Williams suggested that her professional career was almost over.

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"I guess there's just a light at the end of the tunnel," said Williams.

"I don't know, I'm getting closer to the light. Lately that's been it for me. I can't wait to get to that light."

On Tuesday, Williams posted a link to an emotional article written for September's edition of Vogue, in which she confirmed she was planning to move on from playing tennis.

"I have never liked the word retirement," Williams told 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.

"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."

One of the greatest female athletes of all time, Williams has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles – the most by any player in the Open Era and second on the all-time list behind only Margaret Court (24).

"There are people who say I'm not the GOAT because I didn't pass Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slam titles, which she achieved before the 'open era' that began in 1968," added Williams.

"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 grand slam final, then yes, I am thinking about that record. Maybe I thought about it too much, and that didn't help.

Williams won 23 Grand Slam singles titles including Wimbledon seven times (Image: Alamy)
Williams won 23 Grand Slam singles titles including Wimbledon seven times (Image: Alamy)

"The way I see it, I should have had 30-plus grand slams. I had my chances after coming back from giving birth. I went from a C-section to a second pulmonary embolism to a grand slam final. I played while breastfeeding. I played through postpartum depression.

"But I didn't get there. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. I didn't show up the way I should have or could have.

"But I showed up 23 times, and that's fine. Actually it's extraordinary. But these days, if I have to choose between building my tennis resume and building my family, I choose the latter."

Williams has confirmed she plans to play at the US Open which begins later this month, leading to speculation it could be her final major tournament in professional tennis.

Williams plans to play at the US Open later this month (Image: Alamy)
Williams plans to play at the US Open later this month (Image: Alamy)

"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," she wrote.

"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. But please know that I am more grateful for you than I can ever express in words."

Topics: Serena Williams, Tennis

Rory O'Callaghan
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