Serena Williams is putting down her racket.
“I have never liked the word retirement,” she wrote in a cover story for the magazine’s September 2022 issue. “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.”
Williams, 40, acknowledged that while many are excited to retire, this isn’t the case for her.
“Praise to these people, but I’m going to be honest. There is no happiness in this topic for me,” the four-time Olympic gold medalist continued. “I know it’s not the usual thing to say, but I feel a great deal of pain. It’s the hardest thing that I could ever imagine. I hate it. I hate that I have to be at this crossroads. 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.”