Serena Williams may be the GOAT when it comes to tennis but says she’s the WOAT (Worst of All Time) at saying goodbye. Today, Serena #TookToVogue (legends only) to announce that she doesn’t like the word “retirement,” but is “evolving away from tennis” in order to focus on expanding her family and venture capital firm Serena Ventures. Serena says she’s planning on playing in the U.S. Open later this month, but after that, it’s time to say g… goo… goodb…, girl can barely get it out which is why she says “I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst.” I would argue that Tom Brady is the WOAT but I don’t think any tennis fans would be mad to see Serena take a run at his record of flopping out of retirement. Then again, Serena has a family that needs and adores her.
Serena says that her daughter, 5-year-old Olympia who she shares with husband and Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian, has been asking for a little sister and that she and Alexis have been trying to fulfill her wish for the past year. Via Vogue:
Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair. If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labor of expanding our family. Maybe I’d be more of a Tom Brady if I had that opportunity. Don’t get me wrong: I love being a woman, and I loved every second of being pregnant with Olympia. I was one of those annoying women who adored being pregnant and was working until the day I had to report to the hospital—although things got super complicated on the other side. And I almost did do the impossible: A lot of people don’t realize that I was two months pregnant when I won the Australian Open in 2017. But I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give.
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. 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. A few years ago I quietly started Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm. Soon after that, I started a family. I want to grow that family.
According to CNN, throughout her tennis career, Serena has won “73 career singles titles, 23 doubles titles and two mixed doubles titles which includes 39 grand slam titles — 23 singles titles, 14 doubles titles and two mixed doubles titles,” putting her just one singles grand slam title behind Australian player Margaret Court who(?!) currently holds the all-time record. Serena had a chance to tie Margaret’s record at Wimbledon back in June, but lost her match against Harmony Tan. Serena says she wasn’t ready for Wimbledon this year, but feels ready to try for a win at the U.S. Open which would tie her with Margaret’s record. For everybody’s sanity, let us hope and pray Meghan Markle doesn’t jinx her ass again! Serena says, via Vogue:
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. 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. 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.
Maybe if I was really good at something I could relate to her reluctance to ride off into the sunset as the GOAT with millions upon millions of dollars and never having to wake up before dawn. But the only world record just out of my grasp is the most Where Did I Put My Glasses Grand Slam titles for a single day. However, according to Serena, there are some people who don’t consider her the GOAT because she hasn’t beaten Margaret’s (again, who?!) record, something that clearly bothers her as she points out that Margaret’s wins were “before the ‘open era’ that began in 1968.” And Serena is famously competitive when it comes to tennis, whereas I’m only competitive when it comes to compliments.
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 grand slam final, then yes, I am thinking about that record… The way I see it, I should have had 30-plus grand slams. I had my chances after coming back from giving birth. I went from a C-section to a second pulmonary embolism to a grand slam final. I played while breastfeeding. I played through postpartum depression. But I didn’t get there. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. I didn’t show up the way I should have or could have. But I showed up 23 times, and that’s fine. Actually it’s extraordinary. But these days, if I have to choose between building my tennis résumé and building my family, I choose the latter.
Oh yeah, well I eventually found my glasses three times last week. Without my glasses on! I’m the GOAT now, Serena. Come for me when you manage to evolve to my level. Here’s Serena’s accompanying Vogue shoot. I’d share my cover too but I’m still waiting for the photographer from Astigmatism Digest to return my calls.