Serena Williams has announced her retirement from tennis in her own unique way… via an article for Vogue magazine. In it, Williams – arguably the greatest sportsperson of all time – looks back on her time in the game, an increasing shift in focus towards Serena Ventures, and perhaps most notably of all the position of motherhood in sport today.
“Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family,” she says. “I don’t think it’s fair. 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 labour of expanding our family. Maybe I’d be more of a Tom Brady if I had that opportunity.”
The article, titled ‘Serena Williams Says Farewell to Tennis On Her Own Terms—And In Her Own Words’ is a testament to the star’s commitment to portraying herself in a transparent and truthful way, through a media that she has seen reshaped first-hand over the course of her quarter century plus career.
It also serves as a testament to the enduring cultural relevance of traditional magazine brands, particularly here in the case of Vogue. Williams was the first black female athlete to adorn the cover of the publication solo in 2015, and her growing influence in the fashion world has seen her featured increasingly in its pages over the years.
Williams plans to retire after the US Open, which begins at the end of this month – win, lose, or draw. And the latter is actually a very real possibility if Serena, who currently holds 23 Grand Slam singles titles, is able to equal the record of Margaret Court, on 24.
“I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst,” writes Williams. “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.”