“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.”
The tennis legend told the publication in a self-written piece that even as she set her sights on the 2022 U.S. Open, her professional tennis career is coming to a close. According to Williams, she’s at a crossroads: between tennis and family, between her future and her past.
Her cover story starts with an anecdote about her daughter Alexis Olympia expressing her desire to become a big sister “when she grows up.”
With that in mind, Serena writes about the unfairness of having to choose between her professional sports career and her family because she’s a woman.
“Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair,” writes Serena in Vogue. “If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labor of expanding our family. Maybe I’d be more of a Tom Brady if I had that opportunity.
Don’t get me wrong: I love being a woman, and I loved every second of being pregnant with Olympia. I was one of those annoying women who adored being pregnant and was working until the day I had to report to the hospital—although things got super complicated on the other side. And I almost did do the impossible: A lot of people don’t realize that I was two months pregnant when I won the Australian Open in 2017. But I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give.”
Serena Williams Says She’s Evolving From Tennis
Serena also told Vogue that she doesn’t like the word “retirement” and instead prefers “evolution.” According to Serena, her evolution will include her focusing on her venture capital firm and expanding her family.
“A few years ago I quietly started Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm. Soon after that, I started a family. I want to grow that family.”
“In the last year, Alexis and I have been trying to have another child, and we recently got some information from my doctor that put my mind at ease and made me feel that whenever we’re ready, we can add to our family. I definitely don’t want to be pregnant again as an athlete. I need to be two feet into tennis or two feet out.”
Elsewhere in the story, Serena admits that being at a crossroads when it comes to tennis is “the hardest thing that she could ever imagine” but says she’s ready for her next chapter.
“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.”
We’re ready to see what’s next too, Serena!
We’re wishing this legend good luck and good rest before she makes her final U.S. Open appearance later this month.
For the full cover story, go to Vogue.com.
Vogue’s September 2022 issue is available on newsstands nationwide on August 16th.