At the moment, in Vogue’s September cowl story, Serena Williams introduced that she might be stepping again from her skilled tennis profession. Describing the choice as a “transition” and an “evolution” as she turns her consideration extra absolutely to her work as an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and mom to her four-year-old daughter, Olympia, Williams will flip the web page on her profession as one of many best tennis gamers of all time.
The numbers are extraordinary. Since profitable her first main singles title on the U.S. Open in 1999, Williams has gone on to win 23 Grand Slam titles—a report for any participant, male or feminine, within the Open period—and shares the report for consecutive weeks spent as world primary on the WTA rankings, a jaw-dropping 186 weeks, with Steffi Graf. She has gained 4 Olympic gold medals—a report she shares together with her sister, Venus—and is broadly reported to be the highest-earning feminine athlete of all time.
But even with all these titles, honors, and trophies, arguably essentially the most vital achievement of Williams’s three-decade profession has been her reshaping of girls’s sports activities. Her constant advocacy to shut the pay hole and obtain parity each inside tennis and additional afield has made her one of many problem’s most revered voices, whereas her outspokenness on the subject of the racism and physique shaming she has confronted all through her profession has paved the way in which for younger Black ladies to comply with in her footsteps, with a various new technology of girls gamers usually citing her as their central inspiration.
“I’d wish to assume that because of alternatives afforded to me, ladies athletes really feel that they are often themselves on the court docket,” Williams tells Vogue. “They can play with aggression and pump their fists. They could be robust but stunning. They can put on what they need and say what they need and kick butt and be pleased with all of it.” It is sensible, then, that Williams is set to enter this new section of her life and profession on her personal phrases, even when it means beating a path none have taken earlier than her. “I’ve by no means preferred the phrase retirement,” Williams continues. “It doesn’t really feel like a contemporary phrase to me.” Wherever she goes, nevertheless, her legions of followers and admirers will certainly comply with.