When Serena Williams announced in August that she was “evolving” out of tennis — a term she found to be softer than retirement — it was with a heavy heart. “I’m torn,” she said at the time. “I don’t want it to be over, but at the same time I’m ready for what’s next.”
Now, the tennis icon has decided that it doesn’t have to be over if she doesn’t want it to be. During a press conference in San Francisco Monday, Oct. 21, Williams declared: “I am not retired.”
The conference mainly saw Williams promoting her investment company, Serena Ventures. She cited the company as one post-tennis focus in the Vogue essay detailing her departure from the court, along with wanting to expand her family. Williams hasn’t necessarily chosen one or the other, but is instead finding an approach to balancing both.
“The chances [of a return] are very high. You can come to my house, I have a court,” she said, adding: “I still haven’t really thought about [retirement], but I did wake up the other day and go on the court and [considered] for the first time in my life that I’m not playing for a competition, and it felt really weird. It was like the first day of the rest of my life and I’m enjoying it, but I’m still trying to find that balance.”
Balance was rooted in the thesis of Williams’ essay, where she wrote about finding a middle ground between encouraging her daughter Olympia towards certain endeavors while allowing her to arrive there on her own accord. In her own life, she said, her own balance “has been slowly shifting toward Serena Ventures.”
At the time of her faux-retirement, Williams was only one tournament win away from becoming the tennis player – man or woman – with the most Grand Slam titles in the Open Era. In her final match at the 2022 U.S. Open — which came after a two-and-a-half-hour head-to-head against Anett Kontaveit — she fell to Ajla Tomljanović, ranked 46th. She left with the unimpeachable Greatest of All Time title intact, but if she truly isn’t done, maybe the extra time will be enough to break the record, after all.