Serena Williams will soon be "evolving away" from tennis to focus on expanding her family.
In a cover story for the September issue of U.S. Vogue magazine, the athlete revealed that she will be stepping away from the sport following the U.S. Open, which runs from 29 August until 11 September.
"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," she wrote.
Serena confessed that she is not "excited about" her retirement and wished she wasn't in the position where she had to choose between tennis and giving her four-year-old daughter Olympia a sibling.
"I know it's not the usual thing to say, but I feel a great deal of pain," the 40-year-old candidly shared. "It's the hardest thing that I could ever imagine. I hate it. I hate that I have to be at this crossroads. I keep saying to myself, I wish it could be easy for me, but it's not. I'm torn: I don't want it to be over, but at the same time I'm ready for what's next. I don't know how I'm going to be able to look at this magazine when it comes out, knowing that this is it, the end of a story that started in Compton, California, with a little Black girl who just wanted to play tennis. This sport has given me so much."
Serena explained that she and her husband Alexis Ohanian have been trying for another child over the past year and recently received information from her doctor that assured her that they can add to their family whenever she's ready.
"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.
Over her career, the sports star has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the most by any player in the Open Era, and the second-most of all time behind Margaret Court with 24. Serena insisted that she's "not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment" and to tie with Court's record at the U.S. Open.
"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," she concluded. "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."