All-time tennis great Serena Williams on Tuesday said she’s walking away from the sport after the U.S. Open, writing that she’s in the midst of a “transition” from the court.
In an essay posted by Vogue, Williams said she’s been thinking of this move as a transition rather than a retirement — but said in no uncertain terms that she’s about to leave the sport she’s dominated for decades.
“I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me,” she wrote.
“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.”
The winner of 23 major titles, Williams said she “wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon” this year.
“And I don’t know if I will be ready to win New York,” she said, a reference to the U.S. Open. “But I’m going to try. And the lead-up tournaments will be fun.”
In an Instagram post, Williams added: “The countdown has begun. I have to focus on being a mom, my spiritual goals and finally discovering a different, but just exciting Serena. I’m gonna relish these next few weeks.”
This is a breaking story, check back for updates.
David K. Li is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.