Superstar athlete and trailblazer, Serena Williams, touched base on a personal level recently, one that involves her moving on from the game she’s dedicated her life to.
In a cover story for Vogue, Williams took to write about the current crossroads she faces – one which for her means a natural and emotional progression away from tennis.
Williams started off by retelling a story in which her daughter, Olympia, decided that when she grows up, she wants to be a big sister. This pulled on her mother’s heartstrings and translated, for Williams, into the ultimatum.
“Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair,” Williams wrote.
Williams went on to share that she wanted to grow her family – something that as a female athlete is incredibly difficult as she’d bare the physical responsibility, and has before.
“A lot of people don’t realise that I was two months pregnant when I won the Australian Open in 2017,” she adds of her pregnancy with daughter Olympia. However, her commendable strength was by no means an easy feat.
Despite wanting different things as she nears 41 years old, Williams shakes her head at the word retirement, dubbing it an unmodern word. The word she has chosen for her next steps is evolution.
Williams takes to reiterates multiple times that her decision to evolve isn’t because of resentment toward the game of tennis that has accompanied her life. Instead, it is a bitter-sweet goodbye, and one she has struggled to confess as a necessity.
“I hate it. I hate that I have to be at this crossroads.”
“I’ve been reluctant to admit to myself or to anyone else that I have to move on from playing tennis,” Williams’ further added, emphasising that she feels the entire topic of her leaving the game to be taboo.
Of tennis’s place in her life, Williams reminisces on the days where she was a “little Black girl who just wanted to play tennis. This sport has given me so much,” she remembers fondly, before emphasising that not being naturally talented at the game birthed a fighting spirit in her.
Although Williams’ didn’t give an exact timeline of her exit, she alluded to future prospects beyond family life, including her company Serena Ventures. SV was an all-female company until recently when the first male was brought in as a ‘diversity hire’ as Williams’ jokes. The company this year raised $111 million (almost R2 billion) of outside financing from banks, private individuals and family offices, set on empowering women and people of colour.
We can’t wait to see where her next steps take her!