Serena Williams looks a little bit salty as she reflects on ending her tennis career with a less prestigious title than Australian legend Margaret Court.
Williams’ crusade to win a 24th major title and a five-year history of par on the court looked set to end fruitlessly when she retired at this year’s US Open.
The 40-year-old American revealed in an article published in Vogue magazine on Tuesday night (AEST) that she plans to quit her career to focus on having another child.
Williams mentioned the court twice and was careful with her words, and should be remembered as one of tennis’ greatest players of all time.
“There are people who say I’m not a Goth because I don’t live up to the 24 grand title of Margaret Court, which she achieved before the ‘Open Age’ of 1968,” Williams wrote.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that record. Obviously I do. But day to day I don’t really think about her. If I’m in a Grand Slam final, yes, I’m thinking about that record. Maybe I thought too much about it, and that didn’t help.
“As I see it, I should have had over 30 great calculations. I got my opportunities after giving birth. I went from a C-section to a second lung abscess to the end of a Grand Slam. I played while breastfeeding. I played with postpartum depression.
“But I didn’t get there. Pole, Pole, Cana. I didn’t show up in a way that I should or could have. But I’ve been featured 23 times and it’s good. It’s really unusual. But right now, if I had to choose between building my tennis resume and building my family, I’d choose the latter.
Williams made her first hard court appearance in a year and a half on Monday, defeating Nuria Parizas Diaz in the second round of the WTA Toronto tournament.
It was her first singles win since the 2021 French Open 14 months ago. The former world number one played her first round match in a year when she lost in the first round at Wimbledon in June.
“I know there’s a fan fantasy that I might have tied Margaret that day in London, then beaten her record in New York, and then at the trophy ceremony, ‘Look!’ I understand that. It’s a good fantasy,” she wrote.
But I’m not looking for some formal, final court moment. I’m terrible at saying the worst goodbye in the world.
Another Aussie champion, Ash Barty, was quoted in Williams’ self-published article as saying how difficult it was for her to climb.
Bati shocked the tennis world by retiring at the age of 25 earlier this year.
“I know a lot of people are anxious and excited about retirement, and I wish I could feel that way,” Williams wrote. “When she left the sport this March, Ashley Barty was number one in the world, and I believe she really felt ready to move on. One of my best friends, Caroline Wozniacki, is relieved to retire in 2020.
“These guys deserve credit, but to be honest. There is no joy in this topic for me. I know it’s not normal to say but I feel so much pain. It’s a very difficult thing to imagine. I hate it. I hate that I have to be at this crossroads. I keep telling myself, I wish it were easier, but it isn’t.”