Tennis

Retirement Plan: Serena Williams Plans To Depart From Tennis

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Who is Serena Williams?

Serena Jameka Williams was born on September 26, 1981. An outstanding tennis player, she hails from the United States. Together with her older sister Venus, Serena Williams was coached by their parents, Oracene Price and Richard Williams. She won her first major singles victory at the 1999 US Open after turning professional in 1995.

She was unbeatable from the 2002 French Open through the 2003 Australian Open, where she won all four singles championships (against Venus in each final) to complete the “Serena Slam,” a non-calendar year Grand Slam and the lifetime Grand Slam. In the ensuing years, she won two more major singles titles but was plagued by injury and a drop in form. 

Despite continuing injuries, she gradually regained her form beginning in 2007, reclaiming the No. 1 singles ranking in the world. Williams returned to dominance beginning with the 2012 Wimbledon Championships, winning Olympic gold and becoming the first tennis player to earn singles and doubles Career Golden Slam.

She achieved a second “Serena Slam” by winning eight of thirteen singles majors, including four in a row in 2014–2015. She broke Steffi Graf’s Open Era record with her 23rd major singles victory in the 2017 Australian Open. After becoming pregnant, she took a break from professional tennis and has reached four major finals since her return.

She held the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) singles No. 1 ranking for a total of 319 weeks, a record-tying 186 of those weeks in a row, and the year-end No. 1 spot five times. She is the record holder for the most Grand Slam singles titles won in the Open Era with 23 and is in second place all time. 

Williams won 14 major women’s doubles titles, all with her sister Venus, and was unbeaten in Grand Slam doubles finals. This includes a non-calendar year Grand Slam victory between the 2009 Wimbledon Championships and the 2010 French Open, which gave the sisters the No. 1 doubles ranking in the world. 

She won four Olympic gold medals, together with three in women’s doubles, a record she shares with her sister. Additionally, she has won two major mixed doubles titles in 1998. Williams confirmed her imminent retirement from the professional tennis circuit in August 2022.

Williams was the highest-paid female athlete worldwide in 2016, earning about $29 million. In 2017, with $27 million in prize money and endorsements, she again topped Forbes’ list of the 100 highest-paid athletes as the sole female. She has won the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year award four times and was selected as Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year for 2015. (2003, 2010, 2016, 2018). To date, she has amassed the largest fortune of any female athlete in history.

The Retirement Plan of Serena Williams

An August announcement from one of the world’s most famous athletes was inevitable but not particularly welcome. Serena Williams, a tennis legend, disclosed that her forthcoming tournament will likely be her last in the sport that made her famous. Williams stated in a Vogue cover article that despite her reluctance, she intended to leave her sport to focus on other things, including developing her family.

Williams, who turned 41 in September, stated that the “countdown to retirement” has begun, citing her family as the key reason why she believes her playing days are nearly over.

“At some point in life, we must choose to move in a different direction. When you love something so passionately, adversity is always present. My gosh, I like tennis. The countdown, however, has begun,” Williams posted on Instagram. “I must prioritize becoming a mother, achieving my spiritual aspirations, and discovering a new, yet equally interesting Serena. I’m going to savor the next few weeks.”

Williams, who made her debut as a youngster by winning the 1999 U.S. Open, will end her career with at least 73 career singles titles, 23 career doubles trophies, and more than $94 million in total earnings. She is also the record holder in Grand Slam singles titles in the Open Era with 23, one less than Margaret Court’s record.

Williams’s declaration came less than twenty-four hours after she won her first match in over a year at the National Bank Open, a U.S. Open tune-up tournament. She stays on the early entry list for the final Grand Slam tournament of the year, which she has won six times.

Williams made it clear in the essay that she does not want her final match to be accompanied by an excessive amount of pomp if it should indeed occur under the bright lights in New York City.

She wrote: “I’m not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment. I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst. But please know that I am more grateful for you than I can ever express in words. You have carried me to so many wins and so many trophies. I’m going to miss that version of me, that girl who played tennis. And I’m going to miss you.

Serena mentions getting more involved with her investment firm, Serena Ventures. Williams says her company is focused on investing in women and minority-led businesses. She seems to be working hard, so “retirement” doesn’t seem the right word. One thing from Williams’ essay is that she has no intention of retiring from public life.

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