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Serena Williams announces she will "evolve away from tennis"

Serena Williams retiring
Serena Williams retiring 02:54

MIAMI - Tennis legend Serena Williams may be readying to hang up her racket.

Williams, who's won countless titles over a career that has spanned nearly three decades, suggested that she intends to retire after the upcoming U.S. Open in a Vogue essay published on Tuesday.

In the essay, Williams, who lives in Palm Beach Gardens, said that "evolving away from tennis" would give her an opportunity to prioritize other things.

"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," she wrote. "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."

The announcement came a day after the 40-year-old won her first singles match in 430 days.

She played her first singles match in over a year at Wimbledon in June, losing to France's Harmony Tan. Afterward, she hinted that she could play on home soil at the US Open, which begins on August 29. 

"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," she wrote in the essay.

She is currently playing in the Canadian Open.   

Since losing her professional debut in September 1995, Williams has become the most dominant force in women's tennis in the last 30 years.

She has won 73 career singles titles, 23 doubles titles, and two mixed doubles titles. That includes 39 grand slam titles -- 23 singles titles, 14 doubles titles and two mixed doubles titles.

Williams has been ranked singles world No. 1 by the Women's Tennis Association for 319 weeks, including a joint-record 186 consecutive weeks, and finished as the year-end No. 1 five times. 

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 is married to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and gave birth to their daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. in September 2017.

Focusing on her young family, as well as her interests away from tennis, is why she's deciding to step away from the game.

"Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don't think it's fair," Williams explained. "These days, if I have to choose between building my tennis resume and building my family, I choose the latter."

In 2019, she launched her clothing line S by Serena. Through her charity foundation, In 2021, Williams and Nike unveiled a collection of women's athleisure wear and accessories, created by a group of 10 up-and-coming designers known as the Serena Williams Design Crew. 

Through her charity foundation, Williams has helped open several schools in Africa and around the world.  

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