Williams said in a lengthy essay with Vogue that while not liking the word retirement, she is set to move onto the next phase of her life and that she hopes to have a second child with husband, Alexis Ohanian post tennis.
This news came as she started her 'farewell' with victory over Nuria Parrizas-Diaz on Monday at the National Bank Open in Toronto and every match will now see the spotlight turned up on the American legend.
Super Serena Williams seals first win since return with straight sets triumph over Parrizas-Diaz at National Bank Open
"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," she wrote on Instagram.
Linked was her Vogue essay which can be read below as she discusses her career, winding down and also not reaching 24 Grand Slams.
"I have never liked the word retirement," Williams writes in the latest issue of Vogue. "It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. ... 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 keep saying to myself, I wish it could be easy for me, but it’s not. I’m torn: I don’t want it to be over, but at the same time I’m ready for what’s next," she adds. "I don’t know how I’m going to be able to look at this magazine when it comes out, knowing that this is it, the end of a story that started in Compton, Calif., with a little Black girl who just wanted to play tennis. This sport has given me so much. I love to win. I love the battle. I love to entertain. I’m not sure every player sees it that way, but I love the performance aspect of it—to be able to entertain people week after week.
"Some of the happiest times in my life were spent waiting in that hallway in Melbourne, and walking out into Rod Laver Arena with my earphones in and trying to stay focused and drown out the noise but still feeling the energy of the crowd. Night matches in Arthur Ashe Stadium at Flushing Meadows. Hitting an ace on set point."
"I started playing tennis with the goal of winning the US Open. I didn’t think past that. And then I just kept winning," she wrote. "I remember when I passed Martina Hingis’s Grand Slam count. Then Seles’s. And then I tied Billie Jean King, who is such an inspiration for me because of how she has pioneered gender equality in all sports. Then it was climbing over the Chris Evert–Martina Navratilova mountain. 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.
"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. 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 résumé and building my family, I choose the latter."
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In addition she said that while she wasn't ready for Wimbledon, the same can be said for the US Open but that she will try her best.
"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 said. "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. You have carried me to so many wins and so many trophies.
"I’m going to miss that version of me, that girl who played tennis. And I’m going to miss you."