Tennis player Serena Williams is preparing to retire after this year’s US Open tournament, wrapping up a career that ushered in a new generation of diverse players around the world and made her a Grand Slam champion 23 times a powerful ambassador for sponsors and black women in business.
Williams, 40, announced her intention to retire in a first-person essay for Vogue published on Tuesday. She said her ambition to have more children led to her decision.
“I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think that’s fair,” she wrote. “But I’ll be 41 this month [September]and something must give.
Williams, along with her older sister Venus, became a tennis sensation in the late 1990s and won her first Grand Slam title at the 1999 US Open at the age of 17. playing on public courts in Compton, California inspired a generation of black women to pursue the sport, including new champions such as Japan’s Naomi Osaka.
Her quest to break Margaret Court’s record of 24 career Grand Slam titles has given Williams consistent ratings and ticket sales at tournaments around the world.
Along the way, Williams became a single-name entity, a leading endorser first for Puma and currently for Nike, which named a building on its corporate campus in her honor. Beyond sportswear, she has endorsed blue chip brands including Chase, the consumer banking arm of JPMorgan, and IBM. Forbes estimates her net worth at $260 million, placing her at 90 in its list of top self-made women in the United States. Williams has earned nearly $95 million in career prize money, according to the Women’s Tennis Association.
In recent years, Williams has focused more on investing in and expanding opportunities in women’s sports. His venture capital fund, Serena Ventures, raised $111 million in its inaugural round in March and focuses primarily on early-stage investments in start-ups, according to Crunchbase.
“Every morning I get so excited to come down to my desk and hop on Zooms and start looking at games from companies we’re considering investing in,” Williams wrote in Vogue, saying she plans to go. focus more on the business side. .
Williams is a minority owner of the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins and, along with her husband, Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian, is a founding co-owner of a new women’s soccer team in Los Angeles.