I started playing tennis with the goal of winning the U.S. Open. I didn’t think past that. And then I just kept winning. I remember when I passed Martina Hingis’s grand slam count. Then Seles’s. And then I tied Billie Jean King, who is such an inspiration for me because of how she has pioneered gender equality in all sports. Then it was climbing over the Chris Evert–Martina Navratilova mountain. There are people who say I’m not the GOAT because I didn’t pass Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slam titles, which she achieved before the “open era” that began in 1968. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that record. Obviously I do. But day to day, I’m really not thinking about her. If I’m in a grand slam final, then yes, I am thinking about that record. Maybe I thought about it too much, and that didn’t help. The way I see it, I should have had 30-plus grand slams. I had my chances after coming back from giving birth. I went from a C-section to a second pulmonary embolism to a grand slam final. I played while breastfeeding. I played through postpartum depression. But I didn’t get there. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. I didn’t show up the way I should have or could have. But I showed up 23 times, and that’s fine. Actually it’s extraordinary. But these days, if I have to choose between building my tennis résumé and building my family, I choose the latter.
It looks like the US Open will be her last tournament, an event that has been a major part of her life and career, and I’d love if she could show one last bit of Serena magic but I’d take her just “showing up”.
While I’m absorbing the news, others have written good pieces on the matter as well as some impressive stats from her illustrious career so here they are:
- Serena Williams’ unapologetic greatness is a beacon to Black girls everywhere by Etan Thomas
- Opinion: Serena Williams is rewriting retirement, just as she has everything else by Roxanne Jones
- Serena Williams: ‘Almost the end of an era’ with American icon set to retire by Amy Lofthouse
- Reflecting on Serena Williams’ career and legacy as the G.O.A.T retires from tennis by Juana Summers, Mallory Yu, and Justine Kenin
- Serena Williams’ career rankings by FlowingData
- Serena Williams beat every Grand Slam champion by FlowingData
- The wins, losses and comebacks that made up Serena Williams’s career by Artur Galocha and Adrian Blanco
- With Serena by May from String Theory
- Serena’s example: Tennis icon’s impact felt in Black America by Aaron Morrison
- How Serena Williams forced sports journalists to cover tennis as more than a game by Erin Whiteside