Tennis superstar Serena Williams, who has spoken of giving up professional tennis for many months now, offered a rebuke of the term “retired” on Monday at a public appearance in San Francisco.
“I am not retired,” Williams said. “The chances (of a return) are very high. You can come to my house … and I have a court.”
Previously, the 23-time Grand Slam champion also resisted using the “R” word, saying in a statement following her epic presumed sendoff at the U.S. Open that she was “evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.”
At that major, Williams defeated No. 2 Anett Kontaveit in the second round and went toe-to-toe with Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round before dropping a lengthy singles match in front of an adoring and raucous crowd in New York.
An average of 1.21 million viewers tuned into the U.S. Open, a 50 percent increase over the previous year.
“I have never liked the word retirement,” Williams wrote in a Vogue essay earlier this year. “It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. 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.”
Williams, 41, owns the second-most Grand Slam singles titles in history. She won the U.S. Open six times, most recently in 2014. Her most recent major championship came at the 2017 Australian Open, when she played while pregnant with her daughter Olympia.
“I still haven’t really thought about (retirement),” Williams added Monday at the event meant to promote her investment company, Serena Ventures. “But I did go on the court the other day and (considered) for the first time in my life that I’m not playing for a competition, and that felt very weird.”
–Field Level Media