Serena Williams is winding down her legendary tennis career and announced she will retire in the coming weeks — perhaps after the U.S. Open.
In an Instagram post previewing her appearance on the cover of the September issue of Vogue, the 40-year-old Williams wrote:
“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 has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles in her career, one shy of Margaret Court’s all-time mark of 24, yet she is widely considered the greatest female player of all time. Her last major came at the 2017 Australian Open where she beat her sister Venus while pregnant with her daughter Olympia.
“To me, her legacy is already sealed,” ESPN analyst Chris Evert said during the 2021 telecast of Williams’ truncated match at Wimbledon. “If she never wins another Grand Slam, if she never matches Margaret Court, [it] doesn’t matter. She’s still the greatest.”
Williams has a net worth of $260 million and has more than a dozen corporate partners. Her $94 million in career prize money is twice as much as any other female athlete has made.
Williams has investments in more than 60 startups through her firm Serena Ventures, which announced in March 2022 that it had raised an inaugural fund of $111 million.
She is making diversity a focus for her fund, and among her latest investments is Karat, which aims to help more Black software engineers get hired.
She sits on the board of SurveyMonkey’s parent, Momentive, and in January 2022, she joined NFT company Sorare as an advisor.
On Monday, Williams won her first singles match since Roland Garros in 2021, beating Nuria Parrizas 6-3, 6-4 to reach the second round in Toronto.
It marked her first singles win since beating fellow American Danielle Collins in the third round of last year’s French Open.
“I just wanted to be out here today,” Williams said on court. “Obviously, I love playing out here in Toronto. I’ve done well in the past. I was just out here doing my best today.”
After a year off the singles court, Williams returned at Wimbledon last month but lost in the first round to Harmony Tan, 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (7).
“If she can get two or three matches a couple weeks in a row going into the U.S. Open, then she’s got a shot to actually win some matches,” former U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick told Steve Weissman of Tennis Channel Monday on The Rich Eisen Show. “Let’s not get carried away and say she’s got a shot to win the tournament but I think the only chance she has to make a big run in New York City is to find her base over the next couple of weeks.”
Serena, playing her first hard court event since last year’s Australian Open, next faces 12th seed Belinda Bencic or Tereza Martincova on Wednesday.
Next week she is also scheduled to play the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, an event she won in 2014 and ‘15.
The U.S. Open begins Aug. 29. And it looks like that will be her final swan song.