Serena Williams developed her tennis skills on public courts in a notoriously violent American neighbourhood before emerging as a generational icon and potential all-time great.
After very definitely playing her last match, a three-set loss to Ajla Tomljanovic at the US Open on Friday, the 40-year-old superstar is now on her way to retirement.
She added that she anticipated spending time with her daughter Olympia, “I’m eager to be a parent and experience a new version of myself.”
With 23 Grand Slam victories and a will as strong as the raw fire that characterises her shotmaking wizardry, Serena established herself as an African-American icon in a white-dominated sport.
In the Hollywood fairytale “King Richard,” Serena and her sister Venus, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, were taught tennis by their father Richard Williams while growing up on the rough streets of Compton, California. They served as executive producers for the film.
Williams remarked after winning the 2013 US Open, “I am still just that girl with the racquet and a dream and I’m just playing for that.”
She ended up realising the dream, winning seven Australian Opens, three French Opens, seven Wimbledon trophies, and six US Opens, leaving her just one title short of Margaret Court’s all-time Slam singles title total.
Serena earned her first Grand Slam championship in the 1999 US Open when she was just 17 years old, and in 2017, while carrying Olympia, she won her 23rd and most current major championship at the Australian Open.
She gave birth to her baby in September 2017 and was sidelined for six weeks due to a pulmonary embolism, but she fought back to compete in Fed Cup doubles with Venus five months later.
Williams twice achieved a “Serena Slam” by winning all four major championships in a row. Williams’ spouse is Reddit entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian. She repeated it in 2014–15 beginning with the 2014 US Open after doing it in 2002–03 beginning with the 2002 French Open.
In 2015, she had the opportunity to complete a calendar-year Grand Slam, but Roberta Vinci of Italy defeated her in the US Open semifinals.
Williams said, “I never really want to concentrate on the figures. I began playing tennis just because I had a racquet and a desire, not because I wanted to be the best. People now claim that I may be (the best), but I just am not there yet.
“To me, the greatest figures in the history of women’s tennis are people like Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, and Steffi Graf.”
Williams’ skill was strong and stylish, but sometimes her wardrobe choices took attention away from her impressive on-court performances.
She only achieved one victory as a mother, the most recent of her 73 career WTA victories, in January 2020 at the Auckland Open.
Williams missed opportunities to tie Court’s record four times in the Wimbledon and US Open finals in 2018 and 2019.