Serena Williams announces plans to retire following 2022 US Open

Jamie Shaw in WTA Tour 09 Aug 2022
Serena salutes the crowd at Wimbledon (Photo credit: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo)

Serena Williams has announced her intention to retire from professional tennis following the upcoming US Open.

In an interview with Vogue, the 23-time Grand Slam champion has admitted “the countdown has begun” towards the end of her playing career.

Williams, 40, has won more Grand Slam singles titles than any other player in the Open Era and is one adrift of Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24.

Williams turned professional aged 14 in 1995 and won her first major singles title at the 1999 US Open, going on to dominate the women’s game in the proceeding years.

She has since picked up seven Wimbledon and Australian Open titles, as well as six US Opens and three French Opens.

Williams has also won 14 major women’s doubles titles, all with her sister Venus, and the pair are unbeaten in Grand Slam doubles finals.

Her most recent Grand Slam singles title came at the 2017 Australian Open when she was eight weeks’ pregnant with her daughter Olympia.

Since her subsequent break from tennis, Serena has reached a further four major finals but has been forced to settle for second prize on two occasions at Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows.

Williams revealed in a post on Instagram on Tuesday: ‘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.’

In an interview with Vogue magazine, she added: “I have never liked the word retirement. 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.

“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.

“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.”

On Monday, she registered her first singles win in 14 months, defeating Spain’s Nuria Parrizas Diaz to reach the Second Round of the National Bank Open in Toronto.

She is gearing up for what could be her final competitive Grand Slam appearance at the US Open in New York – which takes place from August 29 to September 11.

Serena Williams Career Stats

  • 23 Grand Slam singles titles – the most of any woman in the Open Era
  • 73 WTA titles overall, including all four Slams at least three times
  • 39 combined major titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles
  • 14 major doubles titles with sister Venus
  • 4 Olympic gold medals in singles and doubles
  • 319 weeks at the top of the world rankings
  • 186 consecutive weeks at number one – a joint-record with Chris Evert
  • $94m in career prize money
  • 71.3% winning record against players ranked in the top 10

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