Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open

Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open

(CNN)Serena Williams has announced that she will “evolve away from tennis” after this year’s US Open to focus on “other things that are important to me.”

In an article in Vogue, the 23-time grand slam winner said that, although she will try to win at the US Open, it is time for her to move “in a different direction.””There comes a time in life when we have to decide to move in a different direction,” Williams posted on Instagram with a picture of herself on the cover of Vogue with the title: ‘Serena’s Farewell…I’m terrible at goodbyes.’

    “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.”

      The announcement comes a day after the 40-year-old won her first singles match in 430 days. Read MoreShe played her first singles match in over a year at Wimbledon in June, losing to France’s Harmony Tan. Afterwards, she hinted that she could play on home soil at the US Open, which begins August 29. Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsSerena Williams waves to the crowd after winning the Australian Open in 2017. It was her 23rd grand slam singles title, breaking the record for the most titles by a woman in the Open era of professional tennis.Hide Caption 1 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWilliams’ father, Richard, coached her and her older sister, Venus, to play tennis at an early age. From left are Venus, Richard, Serena and mother Brandy.Hide Caption 2 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsSerena plays tennis in 1992. She and her sister spent their early years playing tennis in Compton, California, just outside of Los Angeles. They later moved to a tennis academy in Florida.Hide Caption 3 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsSerena sits with her father and sister Venus as Venus answers questions from the press in 1994. Venus turned professional at the age of 14. Her sister followed one year later when she was the same age.Hide Caption 4 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsThe Williams sisters and the Jensen brothers, Luke and Murphy, play an exhibition in New York’s Times Square in 1997. It was part of the lead-up to the US Open.Hide Caption 5 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsSerena, left, walks past Venus as they played against each other in the second round of the Australian Open in 1998. It was Serena’s first grand slam tournament. Venus won the match 7-6, 6-1. Hide Caption 6 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsSerena plays at the French Open in 1998. She made it to the fourth round.Hide Caption 7 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsSerena won her first grand slam singles title in 1999, when she defeated Martina Hingis to win the US Open. She was the first Black woman to win a grand slam singles title since Althea Gibson in 1958.Hide Caption 8 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsThe sisters teamed up in doubles to win Olympic gold at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. They would also win doubles gold at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.Hide Caption 9 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsSerena, left, and Venus stand with tennis great Billie Jean King after Venus defeated Serena to win the US Open final in 2001. It was Venus’ fourth grand slam singles title.Hide Caption 10 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsSerena plays against Janette Husarova at the French Open in 2002. Serena would go on to win the tournament for her second grand slam singles title, and she followed it up with three straight titles at Wimbledon, the US Open and then the Australian Open in 2003. It became known as the “Serena Slam.”Hide Caption 11 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsSerena poses with the trophy after winning her first Wimbledon title in 2002. She was No. 1 in the world at the age of 20.Hide Caption 12 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsSerena serves during the Australian Open in 2003. She defeated her sister Venus in the final that year.Hide Caption 13 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsSerena signs autographs after a match in Key Biscayne, Florida, in 2004.Hide Caption 14 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsVenus and Serena sit with Vogue’s Andre Leon Talley and Anna Wintour at a New York fashion show in 2008. Serena once studied fashion design at the the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.Hide Caption 15 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsSerena cuts a ribbon at the opening of the Serena Williams Secondary School in Matooni, Kenya, in 2008. That year, she established the Serena Williams Foundation to help underprivileged children around the world.Hide Caption 16 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsSerena plays at Wimbledon in 2008.Hide Caption 17 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWilliams attends a book signing in London in 2009.Hide Caption 18 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWilliams is honored in 2009 as one of Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year.Hide Caption 19 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWilliams screams at a line judge who called her for a foot fault during a semifinal match at the US Open in 2009. Williams lost the match and was fined a record $82,500. She was also placed on probation for two years. Hide Caption 20 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWilliams laughs as women from the Kamba tribe dress her in traditional regalia to inaugurate a school she funded in Kenya’s Wee village in 2010.Hide Caption 21 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWilliams demonstrates a proper backhand during a clinic held in Washington, DC, in 2011. That year, she underwent emergency treatment for a hematoma related to a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in her lungs.Hide Caption 22 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWilliams plays against Victoria Azarenka at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 2013.Hide Caption 23 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWilliams celebrates after winning the US Open in 2013. It was her fifth US Open title and her 17th grand slam singles title.Hide Caption 24 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWilliams jumps with the trophy after winning the US Open in 2014.Hide Caption 25 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWilliams dances with men’s champion Novak Djokovic at the Wimbledon champions dinner in 2015.Hide Caption 26 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWilliams celebrates her Wimbledon title in 2016. It was her seventh win at Wimbledon, and her 22nd grand slam title. That tied her with Steffi Graf for the most singles titles in the Open era of professional tennis.Hide Caption 27 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWilliams is congratulated by her sister Venus after she defeated her at the Australian Open to win her 23rd grand slam singles title in 2017.Hide Caption 28 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWilliams and her fiance, Alexis Ohanian, attend the Met Gala in New York in 2017. Williams, who was pregnant with their first child, has spoken candidly about the complications she experienced following childbirth.Hide Caption 29 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWilliams serves during a French Open match in 2018. A controversy erupted at the tournament when Williams wore a catsuit in her first grand slam match since becoming a mother. Shortly after the tournament, the French Tennis Federation instituted a dress code that critics denounced as racist and sexist.Hide Caption 30 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWilliams waits for the trophy ceremony after she lost to Naomi Osaka in the US Open final in 2018.Hide Caption 31 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWilliams consoles Osaka, who was in tears after her US Open win in 2018. Osaka had denied her idol of a 24th grand slam title, and fans were booing after Williams had clashed with the chair umpire during the match.Hide Caption 32 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWilliams plays at the US Open in 2019.Hide Caption 33 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWilliams walks the runway with her daughter, Alexis Ohanian Jr., during a fashion show launching her clothing line S by Serena in 2019.Hide Caption 34 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWilliams won the 2020 ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand. It was her first title since becoming a mother in 2017. She donated her $43,000 prize money to Australian bushfire relief.Hide Caption 35 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWilliams plays Osaka in the Australian Open semifinals in 2021.Hide Caption 36 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWilliams wears custom Nike sneakers at the French Open in 2021. Williams partnered with Nike to launch a collection of athleisure wear created by emerging designers.Hide Caption 37 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWiliams winces in pain during a first-round Wimbledon match in 2021. She was forced to retire from the match due to the injury.Hide Caption 38 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWilliams poses with her daughter and husband at a premiere of the film “King Richard” in 2021. The film is based on Williams’ father and how he raised his girls to become tennis champions.Hide Caption 39 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWilliams walks the runway during an Off-White fashion show in Paris in February. It was shortly after the death of the brand’s founder, Virgil Abloh.Hide Caption 40 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsWilliams is joined by her sister Venus and “King Richard” star Will Smith at the Producers Guild Awards in March.Hide Caption 41 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsThe Williams sisters take a selfie backstage at the Academy Awards in March.Hide Caption 42 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsSerena reacts during her first-round Wimbledon loss to Harmony Tan in June.Hide Caption 43 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Photos: Tennis legend Serena WilliamsSerena waves to the crowd Wednesday after losing in the first round of the Canadian Open in Toronto. It was her first match since she announced that she would be retiring soon.Hide Caption 44 of 44Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenSerena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US OpenHowever, in the article, Williams said: “I have 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 continued: “Unfortunately I wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon this year. And I don’t know if I will be ready to win New York. But I’m going to try.”Since losing her professional debut in September 1995, Williams has become the most dominant force in women’s tennis in the last 30 years. Together with her old sister Venus, the Williams sisters transformed the sport, making a regular habit of winning grand slams in both singles and doubles tennis. At the time of writing, Serena has won 73 career singles titles, 23 doubles titles and two mixed doubles titles which includes 39 grand slam titles — 23 singles titles, 14 doubles titles and two mixed doubles titles. She is one singles grand slam title behind the all-time record held by Australian Margaret Court. When asked by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour earlier this year if she still wanted to beat Court’s record, she replied: “I should have had it, really, I should — I’ve had many opportunities to have it. But I’m not giving up, to answer your question.”She addressed this later in Vogue, saying: “I know there’s a fan fantasy that I might have tied Margaret that day in London, then maybe beat her record in New York, and then at the trophy ceremony say, ‘See ya!’ I get that. It’s a good fantasy. But I’m not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment. I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst.” The four-time Olympic gold medalist has won over $94.5 million in career prize money, more than any other female athlete.Away from the court, Williams announced her engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian in 2016, giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open Serena Williams announces she will 'evolve away from tennis' after upcoming US Open

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        Tennis legend’s daughter joins her on the court 00:43And focusing on her young family, as well as her interests away from tennis, is why she’s deciding to step away from the game she has changed forever. “Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair,” Williams explained. “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. Don’t get me wrong: I love being a woman, and I loved every second of being pregnant with Olympia. I was one of those annoying women who adored being pregnant and was working until the day I had to report to the hospital — although things got super complicated on the other side. And I almost did do the impossible: A lot of people don’t realize that I was two months pregnant when I won the Australian Open in 2017. But I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give.”The star also admitted she doesn’t like to think about her legacy.

          “I get asked about it a lot, and I never know exactly what to say. 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. “Over the years, I hope that people come to think of me as symbolizing something bigger than tennis.”