Serena Williams playing at the 2011 AEGON Championships (Photo courtesy of creative commons)
By Jackson Ruppe, staff writer
Serena Williams is officially retiring from professional tennis. On Sep. 2, 2022, she competed in her last singles professional match while participating in her final U.S. Open. In a back and forth contest, Williams came up just short against Australian Ajla Tomljanković. Williams leaves the sport as one of the greatest athletes of all time, and her legacy will have a lasting impact and continue to inspire young tennis players.
Williams announced her retirement in early August in a statement with Vogue, saying she would be “evolving away from tennis” after the U.S. Open. “I’m ready to be a mom, explore a different version of Serena. Technically in the world I’m still super young, so I want to have a little bit of a life while I’m still walking,” said Williams during her post match interview.
Williams was born in Michigan, but was raised in Los Angeles where her father taught her to play tennis on public courts. She first turned pro in 1995 at the age of 14. Since then, Williams has embarked upon a long career in which she won 23 grand slam singles titles, the first of which she won at the 1999 U.S open at the age of 17. She also achieved two singles grand slams, meaning that she won all four main events in a row, the first of which starting in 2003 and the other in 2014. Williams also won a third grand slam while playing doubles with her sister, and is a four-time gold medal Olympian, winning the singles competition once and doubles three times with her sister Venus.
Outside of tennis, she is the highest earning female athlete of all time. In 2002, she was endorsed by Puma but signed with Nike in 2004, who she has been with ever since. Williams has also become very involved within the fashion industry, where she runs her own line of designer apparel, as well as a signature collection of handbags and jewelry. As of June 2022, Williams has amassed an estimated net worth of around $260 million, according to Forbes Magazine.
“Serena will always be an important symbol of female power. In the scope of our team, I can definitely say that her legacy has impacted all of us. She brought women’s tennis under the spotlight, and we all owe her for that,” said Colleen Morris, captain of the MCHS women’s tennis team.
After being asked about a possible return to the sport, Williams said, “I don’t know. I’m not thinking about that. I always did love Australia, though [smiling],” alluding to possibly playing in the Australian Open in a few months.