Former World No. 1 Serena Williams shocked tennis fans yesterday with her decision to take retirement from tennis after a glorious career that has spanned 28 years. Having turned Pro back in 1994, Serena will hang up her racket after the 2022 US Open is played out with the final Grand Slam of the season starting on 29th August and concluding on 11th September.
Over the highly successful and exemplary career, Serena’s biggest achievement remains winning 39 Grand Slam titles of which 23 came in the singles discipline, an Open Era record. Serena is currently just one major away from matching Margaret Court‘s record of 24 Grand Slam titles that the Australian great won combined in the Open Era and Amateur Era with 11 and 13 titles won respectively in each Era. With the 2022 US Open yet to be played, Serena has one final opportunity to match the record but the chances of it remain slim.
“I should have had 30-plus grand slams”: Serena Williams
In the debate to decide the GOAT, Serena has always had one thing pulling her behind, Court being the leader for most majors won. While it is not Court’s fault regarding the change of rules and starting of the Open Era, Williams also was ill-fated to miss out on her 24th major despite reaching 4 Grand Slam finals after winning her 23rd title. The American however did not hold back from mentioning it in her retirement announcement letter and took a direct dig as he plays in her final few tournaments.
“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 post-partum 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 resumé and building my family, I choose the latter. I know there’s a fan fantasy that I might have tied Margaret that day in London, then maybe beat her record in New York, and then at the trophy ceremony say, ‘See ya!’ I get that. It’s a good fantasy,” wrote Serena for Vogue.
With Serena not the one to ever back off, her retirement letter also shows her fighting spirit of always seeing herself as the best in order to eventually become the best. The American is currently at the 2022 Canadian Open in Toronto and with a straight-set win in the first round over Nuria-Parrizas Diaz, she is in the second round where she will take on Belinda Bencic.