Serena Williams announced on Tuesday that she is “evolving away from tennis” and will retire from the sport she dominated with 23 Grand Slam titles after the U.S. Open, which begins later this month.
Williams advanced to the second round of the Toronto Open on Monday, only her second singles match since returning to action at Wimbledon in June after a year-long absence. She defeated Spain’s Nuria Parrizas Diaz.
However, the 40-year-old claimed after the match that she could see the light at the end of her tennis career’s tunnel.
“I have never liked the word retirement,” Williams wrote in a Vogue article.
“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.
“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.”
Williams last won a Grand Slam in 2017 and has been chasing an elusive 24th title, which would bring her level with Australian Margaret Court, who now owns the record.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that record. Obviously I do. But day-to-day, I’m really not thinking about her.”
Williams later said in an Instagram post that it was time to move in a “different direction.”
“The countdown has begun. I have to focus on being a mom, my spiritual goals and finally discovering a different, but just exciting Serena.”