Serena Williams, one of the greatest athletes, and certainly one of the greatest tennis players ever, has announced that she will retire after the 2022 U.S Open.

In a piece written for her cover shoot with Vogue, Williams said that she’s ready to move on to new things despite her love for tennis.

Gracing the cover of Vogue‘s September issue, the 40-year-old conceded that her time with tennis has to come to an end.

“But I’ve been reluctant to admit to myself or anyone else that I have to move on from playing tennis,” Williams said. “Alexis, my husband, and I have hardly talked about it; it’s like a taboo topic. I can’t even have this conversation with my mom and dad. It’s like it’s not real until you say it out loud. It comes up, I get an uncomfortable lump in my throat, and I start to cry. The only person I’ve really gone there with is my therapist!”

Retirement has always been the ever-looming cloud over the twilight of Williams’ career since the birth of her daughter in 2017. She had won her last major, the 2017 Australian Open, at eight weeks pregnant. After an emergency C-section that September, a pulmonary embolism kept her bedridden for six weeks.

Retirement didn’t come then, however, as she came back and played through postpartum depression and breastfeeding but never captured another major. In 2021, she went into Wimbledon playing the best tennis she’s had in a while.

Then a leg injury in the first round took her out for a year. Retirement was shoved to the back burner again when she returned to the All-England Club but suffered a first-round defeat to Harmony Tan.

Williams also expressed her pain of leaving the game that she’s played for most of her life.

“I know it’s not the usual thing to say, but I feel a great deal of pain,” she wrote. “It’s the hardest thing that I could ever imagine. I hate it. I hate that I have to be at this crossroads. I keep saying to myself, I wish it could be easy for me, but it’s not. I’m torn: I don’t want it to be over, but at the same time I’m ready for what’s next.”

Williams is still one of the most accomplished tennis players ever. Her 23 Grand Slam titles are second most of all time, only trailing the legendary Margaret Court and the most in the Open Era. She is also the only player ever to win 10 or more Grand Slam titles in two septette decades (10 in the 2000s and 12 in the 2010s)

Williams will play in the 2022 U.S. Open in New York in August, and she vows to give her all.

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