- Serena Williams is one of the best tennis players of all time with 23 Grand Slam titles to her name
- Serena is currently expecting her second child with her husband, Alexis Ohanian
- Serena candidly admitted that she felt the need to pick growing her family over playing tennis
One of those most prestigious tennis events of the year is here! Wimbledon has commenced and will feature the world’s top tennis players over two weeks of intense matches. One tennis pro, Serena Williams, is notably missing. The tennis icon, 41, is several months pregnant with her second child, so it makes sense that she wouldn’t be on the court. But is she retired for good? Here’s everything you need to know about Serena Williams’ absence from Wimbledon and her retirement plans.
Serena Williams Was Invited To Wimbledon 2023
Serena Williams was invited to Wimbledon 2023 to be honored alongside Roger Federer, who has 20 Grand Slam singles championships to his name and is regarded widely as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. However, she declined. “She’s pregnant, so understandably couldn’t travel,” All England Club chairman Sally Bolton told AP News on Monday, July 3. “(We) of course wish her lots of luck with the remainder of her pregnancy and we hope maybe we might see her next year,” Sally added.
Serena announced her second pregnancy at the 2023 Met Gala, where she showed up glowing with a baby bump in a form-fitting Gucci dress. Serena also shares her first child, a 5-year-old daughter named Olympia, with her husband of five years, Alexis Ohanian, 40.
Following her pregnancy reveal, Serena shared an adorable behind-the-scenes video of herself getting ready for the 2023 Met Gala. “Olympia does not know right now that I am pregnant, so the big reveal will be at the Met, and then before we leave, I’ll tell Olympia,” she explained in a voiceover. “The reason I haven’t told her is because she can’t keep a secret,” she added. Serena knows how to keep things real!
Serena Williams Retired From Playing Tennis Competitvely In 2022
Serena announced her decision to retire from tennis in an essay for the Sept. 2022 issue of Vogue, confirming that she planned on the U.S. Open being her last tournament. The decision came amidst her and her husband’s desire to expand their family and give their then-4-year-old daughter a sibling. During her heartfelt essay, Serena wrote that she is not a fan of the word “retirement,” and instead revealed that she will be “moving on” from her sport after the fall.
“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,” she wrote. “Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.” In addition to her family, Serena now plans on focusing her attention on her venture capital firm, Serena Ventures.
Despite coming to terms with her decision, Serena said there is “no happiness” in talking about the subject of retirement. “It’s the hardest thing I could ever imagine,” she admitted. “I hate it. I hate that I have to be at this crossroads.”
Throughout her illustrious career, Serena won 23 Grand Slam titles, putting her two short of beating Margaret Court‘s record of 24. Despite wanting to beat that record, Serena looks back on her career proudly, and noted that she won one of her titles while two months pregnant, then played after having a C-section and while she was breastfeeding and suffering from postpartum depression. “These days, if I have to choose between building my tennis resume and building my family, I choose the latter,” she candidly noted.
Serena also revealed in the essay that she had already spoken to her doctor about expanding her family, and that she felt confident she would be able to do so. “In the last year, Alexis and I have been trying to have another child, and we recently got some information from my doctor that put my mind at ease and made me feel that whenever we’re ready, we can add to our family,” she explained. “I definitely don’t want to be pregnant again as an athlete. I need to be two feet into tennis or two feet out.”
First, though, she had one more big tournament in her: The 2022 U.S. Open. “I don’t know if I will be ready to win New York, but I’m going to try,” she said. “And the lead-up tournaments will be fun….I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst. But please know that I am more grateful for you than I can ever express in words. You have carried me to so many wins and so many trophies. I’m going to miss that version of me, that girl who played tennis. And I’m going to miss you.” Serena’s last tennis match came on Sept. 2, 2022 at the U.S. Open, which ended with a 7-5, 6-7 (4-7), 6-1 loss to Ajla Tomljanovic.
‘Moving On’ Is ‘Harder’ Than Serena Williams Imagined
I’m currently allowing myself to be tired. Allowing myself To relax. Allowing myself to just be. It’s harder than I ever imagined. I’ve never allowed myself to do any of that before…
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) December 28, 2022
Serena got real with her fans when in Dec. 2022, she admitted she was struggling with the transition into her life post-retirement. “I’m currently allowing myself to be tired. Allowing myself To relax. Allowing myself to just be. It’s harder than I ever imagined,” she tweeted. “I’ve never allowed myself to do any of that before…” Luckily, she has an energetic young one and a supportive husband to help her adapt to the new chapter of her life!