Kim Kardashian, Alexis Ohanian praise Serena Williams as she announces retirement from tennis

‘I truly can’t imagine tennis without Serena Williams,’ wrote one fan

Meredith Clark
New York
Wednesday 10 August 2022 05:19 BST
‘I have to move on from tennis’: Serena Williams announces intention to retire after US Open

Serena Williams has announced she will retire from tennis after playing in one more US Open tournament, which begins later this month.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion shared in a personal essay for Vogue on Tuesday that she “never liked the word retirement,” and prefers to call her career transition as an “evolution”. Williams, who turns 40 in September, explained that she plans on stepping away from the sport in order to focus on her venture capital firm and “growing” her family with her husband, Alexis Ohanian.

“I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me,” she wrote in the essay, titled “Serena Williams Says Farewell to Tennis On Her Own Terms—And In Her Own Words”.

Taking to social media, Williams reflected on this new chapter of her life in an Instagram post, alongside an image of her powerful Vogue cover shoot. “There comes a time in life when we have to decide to move in a different direction,” she captioned the post. “That time is always hard when you love something so much. My goodness do I enjoy tennis. But now, the countdown has begun.”

“I have to focus on being a mom, my spiritual goals and finally discovering a different, but just exciting Serena,” she continued. “I’m gonna relish these next few weeks.”

Following the bittersweet news, friends of the tennis star rushed to congratulate Williams on her retirement. Many people applauded Williams for her record-breaking career and praised her as one of the greatest athletes in the world.

Among the celebrities offering their praise was Kim Kardashian, Nicola Anne Peltz-Beckham, and fellow tennis player Caroline Wozniacki.

“I love you and so proud of you,” Wozniacki commented along with a red heart emoji.

“You are EVERYTHING RENA,” wrote television personality Lala Anthony.

And the SKIMS founder wrote a short but sweet comment included a bouquet of flowers emoji, and an emoji of a goat to symbolise the “greatest of all time”.

Meanwhile, many fans on social media made note of the immeasurable impact Williams has had on not just their lives, but on the entire history of tennis. Taking to Twitter, sports broadcaster Cari Champion explained how Williams has “done so much for American tennis, the sport, women in sports and for the collective.”

“Your presence and excellence is invaluable. I’m not ready either but you will always remain the GREAT ONE,” she said.

Culture reporter Gibson Johns wrote: “My hero. We’ll miss seeing you on the courts. Thank you for all of the memories and thank you for changing the world.”

“I truly can’t imagine tennis without Serena Williams. End of an absolutely incredible era,” said ESPN writer D’Arcy Maine.

But perhaps the most important reaction of all came from none other than Serena Williams’ husband, Alexis Ohanian. The Reddit co-founder, who has been married to Williams since 2017, showed his support for his wife by resharing her Vogue cover story and photoshoot. On Twitter, the 39-year-old entrepreneur retweeted a link to her Vogue essay, and reposted images from the shoot – which even featured their four-year-old daughter Alexis Olympia – to his Instagram story.

Ohanian has been Williams biggest supporter ever since the two began dating in 2015. Her husband is often seen sitting courtside and cheering Williams on at every one of her tennis matches. Just yesterday, Ohanian shared a courtside picture of Williams, who won her first singles match in a year at the National Bank Open in Toronto, Canada on Monday.

“Let’s go! @serenawilliams back at it with a W and the important post-match-Olympia-dap-celebration,” he captioned the post. In the second slide, their daughter Olympia is seen repeatedly high-fiving her mom after the match.

In her Vogue essay, Williams explained that part of the reason she is stepping back from tennis is to focus on growing her family. Williams wrote that her daughter often says she wants to be a big sister, and as the youngest of five sisters, she feels this is “a moment I need to listen very carefully to”.

“Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family,” she wrote. “I don’t think it’s fair. If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labour of expanding our family.”

“Don’t get me wrong: I love being a woman and I loved every second of being pregnant with Olympia,” Williams said. “But I’m turning 41 this month and something’s got to give.”

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