Serena Williams to 'move on' from tennis after U.S. Open

American Serena Williams cited her family and age for reasons she decided to step away from tennis. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI
1 of 5 | American Serena Williams cited her family and age for reasons she decided to step away from tennis. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Tennis star Serena Williams plans to "move on from playing" after the 2022 U.S. Open, she announced Tuesday.

Williams, 40, announced her decision in on social media and in an article she wrote for Vogue. She declined to use the term "retirement," which she said doesn't "feel like a modern word." She instead called her decision an "evolution."


"There comes a time in life when we have to decide to move in a different direction," Williams wrote Tuesday on Instagram.

"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."


The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion made her professional debut at age 14 in 1995 and went on to become one of the best tennis players in history. Williams' $94.5 million in career earnings as a player ranks No. 1 in WTA history.

"I've been reluctant to admit that I have to move on from playing tennis," Williams wrote in her article. "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 wrote that she "never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family." She married Alexis Ohanian in 2017. The couple welcomed daughter Alexis Olympia, 4, that same year. Williams famously won the 2017 Australian Open while two-months pregnant.

"There is no happiness in this topic for me," Williams said. "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."


Williams also wrote about her upbringing. She learned alongside her sister, fellow phenom Venus Williams, under her father Richard Williams. She said she was always driven by "proving people wrong."

"There were so many matches I won because something made me angry or someone counted me out," Williams wrote. "That drove me. I've built a career on channeling anger and negativity and turning it into something good."

Williams, who is one Grand Slam singles title short of tying Margaret Court's record of 24, said she still wants to accomplish that feat.

She mentioned her comebacks from giving birth, playing while breastfeeding and battling depression, but said she "didn't show up the way" that she could or should have in some of her Grand Slam finals.

"But I showed up 23 times, and that's fine," Williams wrote. "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."

The 2022 U.S. Open will run from Aug. 29 to Sept. 11 in Flushing, N.Y.

Serena Williams' tennis career: a look back

Serena Williams returns the ball to her sister, Venus, during their match at the Lipton Tennis Championship in Key Biscayne, Fla., on March 28, 1998. Venus Williams, defeated her sister 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. Photo by Susan Knowles/UPI | License Photo

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