Tennis icon Serena Williams set sight on retirement

by Oviri Kelvin, Sports Editor, Abuja

23-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams has set sight towards an imminent retirement after a remarkable tennis career.

Williams, on Tuesday, having made her second appearance for the year after defeating Nuria Parrizas-Diaz at the Canadian Open in Toronto, said that the word ‘retirement’ seems out of the context.

The 40-year-old, who defeated Spanish Parrizas-Diaz 6-3, 6-4, in the round of 64, stated that she prefers to use a subtle word which is more unique in the society.

“I have never liked the word retirement,” Williams wrote in Vogue after her victory.

“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 added.

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After she announced in December 2021 that she would not play in the 2022 Australian Open, Williams’ first outing for the year 2022 was at Wimbledon where she lost in the first round to French Harmony Tan in the singles contest.

The Olympian, who won the gold medals in the singles and doubles events in the London 2012 Olympic Games, said she prefers to use the word ‘evolution’.

Williams added that she was evolving from tennis to venture into other things that are of importance.

She continued: “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.

“I’ve been reluctant to admit that I have to move on from playing tennis. It’s like a taboo topic. It comes up, and I start to cry. I think the only person I’ve really gone there with is my therapist,” the former world topmost ranked female tennis player revealed.

In Vogue, Williams furthermore admitted she was not ready to win the SW19 tourney this year having endured a three-set defeat, 5-7, 6-1, 7-7 (7-10), from Tan at Center Court.

She added, “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. And the lead-up tournaments will be fun,” Williams said.

However, the American, who teamed up with Tunisian Ons Jabeur at Eastbourne International, opined that if she had won the Grand Slam in Wimbledon and also triumphed in New York, she could have surpassed Margaret Court’s 24 Grand Slam record to spur the crowd at the trophy presentation ceremony.

Williams said, “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,” she chuckled.

Affirmatively, she admitted that she wishes to surpass Margaret’s record to become the greatest tennis star of all time and does think about it occasionally but will give it a better consideration when she reaches a Grand Slam final.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that record. Obviously, I do. But day to day, I’m really not thinking about her. If I’m in a Slam final, then yes, I’m thinking about that record. Maybe I thought about it too much, and that didn’t help,” Serena said.

Williams reveals that she and her partner are thinking of getting another child but she does not want it to happen as an athlete.

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