Ashraf Ali Siddiqui looks at an amazing sporting career
Serena Williams is an extremely credible name in the world of tennis and she has acquired an iconic stature in the game. Along with her sister Venus Williams, both Williams’s sisters climbed dizzying heights of tennis and have carved out a niche for themselves. As is the wont in this world, she was expected to call it a day sooner or later and she recently said confirmed that she is evolving away from tennis and planned to retire from the sport she dominated with 23 Grand Slam titles following the US Open, which begins later this month.
Serena Williams played only her second singles match since she returned to action at Wimbledon in June after a year-long absence from competition, beating Spain’s Nuria Parrizas Diaz to reach the second round of the Toronto Open. But the 40-year-old said after that match that she could see the light at the end of the tennis tunnel in her career. She emphasised that she disliked the word retirement although she, a few years ago, quietly started Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm and soon after that, she started a family and that now she wants to grow that family.
Serena Williams won her last Grand Slam in 2017 and has been chasing an elusive 24th crown that will draw her level with Margaret Court who holds the record for the most majors. She came tantalisingly close to achieving that feat, featuring in four major finals since giving birth to daughter Olympia in 2017. She added that she would be lying if she said that she did not want that record but qualified her statement by implying that her best is now behind her.
She added that she adored tennis but now, the countdown has begun and that she has to focus on being a mother. She said that she needed a change and that she was looking forward to it. Williams announced herself on the grandest stage by winning the 1999 US Open, a tournament she would go on to claim five more times. In a storied career during which she dominated rivals like no other athlete, she also claimed seven Australian Open titles, three French Open titles and seven Wimbledon crowns.
Williams also owns 14 women’s Grand Slam doubles titles with older sister Venus and has won four Olympic gold medals: singles (2012), doubles (2000, 2008, 2012). While she has well-earned the reputation as tennis’ fiercest competitor, Williams played down expectations for her final major, after losing in the opening round at Wimbledon. She regretted her lack of preparation for Wimbledon along with expressing doubts if she was ready to win the US Open though she was going to try doing this. With her departure from the scene the game of tennis would be poorer and it would be difficult to fill the void created by her. TW