Serena Williams is gracing the September 2022 issue of Vogue and she looks absolutely gorgeous, but it’s what she shares inside that has left everyone clutching their tennis balls.
After a historic run as one of the greatest tennis players of all-time, Serena confirmed she will be retiring after the U.S. Open.
In an essay for her cover story, Serena Williams shared that she prefers the word “evolving” rather than retiring.
“There is no happiness in this topic for me,” she wrote. “I know it’s not the usual thing to say, but I feel a great deal of pain. It’s the hardest thing that I could ever imagine. 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.”
Serena admits she mulled over the idea of retiring before, but it was her 4-year-old daughter, Olympia, who helped seal the deal with her requests for a baby sister.
“I definitely don’t want to be pregnant again as an athlete. I need to be two feet into tennis or two feet out,” she wrote.
But, she did express resentment in having to choose between growing her family and having a career.
“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.”
Serena is also choosing not to focus on the career goals she fell short on.
“The way I see it, I should have had 30-plus grand slams. I had my chances after coming back from giving birth. I went from a C-section to a second pulmonary embolism to a grand slam final. I played while breastfeeding. I played through postpartum depression. But I didn’t get there,” she wrote.
“Shoulda, woulda, coulda. I didn’t show up the way I should have or could have. But I showed up 23 times, and that’s fine. Actually, it’s extraordinary. But these days, if I have to choose between building my tennis résumé and building my family, I choose the latter.”
Read Serena Williams’ full essay at Vogue and see more photos from her cover story below.
Will you miss watching Serena play?