Serena Williams said she plans to retire from tennis soon, suggesting she may do so after the upcoming US Open.
In a vulnerable first-person essay for Vogue, the 23-time Grand Slam champion opened up about how personally difficult this transition is for her, but said she's "ready for what’s next."
"I’m going to be honest. There is no happiness in this topic for me," Williams 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."
Williams did not reveal exactly when she would retire, but in an Instagram post, she said "the countdown has begun" and that she would "relish these next few weeks." In her essay, she said she would try to win the US Open, which begins on Aug. 29.
After she retires, Williams said she would like to focus more on her family and have another baby. She and her husband, Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, 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," she wrote.
Having to prioritize building a family over her athletic career has been difficult, but she does not "want to be pregnant again as an athlete," she said.
"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," she wrote. "Maybe I’d be more of a Tom Brady if I had that opportunity."
She also plans to focus more on Serena Ventures, her venture capital firm.
Williams reflected on her tennis career, saying how this "sport has given me so much."
"I don’t particularly like to think about my legacy. I get asked about it a lot, and I never know exactly what to say," she wrote. "But I’d like to think that thanks to opportunities afforded to me, women athletes feel that they can be themselves on the court. They can play with aggression and pump their fists. They can be strong yet beautiful. They can wear what they want and say what they want and kick butt and be proud of it all."