Tennis star Serena Williams is gearing up to end her historic, two-decade-long professional career on the court.
In the essay, titled “The Hardest Thing,” the 23-time Grand Slam champion said she hates the word retirement.
“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,” Williams writes in part noting that there’s “no happiness in this topic” for her.
Williams said she wants to shift her focus to her family and business empire, and the four-time Olympic gold medalist doesn’t feel she can do that while playing tennis.
“But these days, if I have to choose between building my tennis résumé and building my family, I choose the latter … In the last year, Alexis and I have been trying to have another child, and we recently got some information from my doctor that put my mind at ease and made me feel that whenever we’re ready, we can add to our family,” Williams wrote.
“I definitely don’t want to be pregnant again as an athlete. I need to be two feet into tennis or two feet out,” she added.
Though the tennis champion has foreshadowed her retirement, Williams is still dominating in her final matches.
She recently earned her first tournament singles win in over a year at WTA National Bank Open in Toronto and plans to take the court in the U.S. Open.
“I’m not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment. I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst,” Williams wrote. “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.”
William’s full essay will be released on August 16 in Vogue’s September issue.