Serena Williams Announces Retirement: ‘If I Were a Guy, I Wouldn’t Be Writing This’

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Serena Williams is looking toward a future with more kids

Tennis legend Serena Williams has decided to leave the sport after the U.S. Open this year. In an essay published in Vogue, the mom-of-one says she has “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,” she writes.

Even though Williams has won 23 major singles titles, she said she “wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon” this year. “And I don’t know if I will be ready to win New York,” she said, talking about the U.S. Open. “But I’m going to try. And the lead-up tournaments will be fun.”

Instead, she continued in an Instagram post, she’s looking ahead with the desire to expand her family: “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, who is mom to four-year-old daughter Olympia, seems excited at the possibility but also points out that if she weren’t a woman, she wouldn’t have to make this call. “Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair,” she wrote. “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.”

She went on to say she loves “being a woman, and I loved every second of being pregnant with Olympia,” but that she’s turning 41 this month and “something’s got to give.”

While the thought of watching tennis and not seeing the powerhouse that is Williams on the court feels wrong, the legacy she’s left is an inspiration for millions of girls. “I’d like to think that thanks to opportunities afforded to me, women athletes feel that they can be themselves on the court,” she says. “They can play with aggression and pump their fists. They can be strong yet beautiful.”

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