The news about Serena Williams that everyone saw coming but no one was quite ready for, finally appeared in the news feeds and notifications on Tuesday. The 40-year-old legend has decided to hang up her racquet after the 2022 US Open after being an active player for around 27 years.
Expressing her dejection, Williams wrote how painful and unfair it was for her to have to pick between tennis and family, but that she was ready for the next chapter in life.
"I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family," Williams said. "I don’t think it’s fair. If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labor of expanding our family."
"I’ve been reluctant to admit that I have to move on from playing tennis. It’s like a taboo topic. It comes up, and I start to cry. I think the only person I’ve really gone there with is my therapist. I have never liked the word retirement. 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," Williams added.
As soon as the news broke, congratulatory messages started to pour in. Celebrities showered praise on the icon and wished her well for the future. Here are some of the messages that Williams shared on her Instagram:
Lewis Hamilton - "Such an icon! Queen! GOAT! We love you @serenawilliams."
Hailee Steinfeld - "You are everything and more."
Frances Tiafoe - "We hitting @usopen for sure, big sis @serenawilliams."
Prakash Amritraj - "We always have and will always need heroes and symbols of hope. @serenawilliams love you dearly."
Grigor Dimitrov - "Proud of you @serenawilliams for all you've done and continue to do."
Reese Witherspoon - "Thank you for sharing your incredible gifts and grace with the world @serenawilliams."
Gabrielle Union - "Can't wait to see what's next, my friend."
Venus Williams - "Cheering on your final season and your new journey."
Serena Williams faces Belinda Bencic in the Canadian Open 2R
Serena Williams entered just her second tournament of the year at the National Bank Open in Toronto and won a singles match after a gap of 430 days. In the first round, the 23-time Grand Slam champion defeated 57th-ranked Nuria Parrizas-Diaz 6-3, 6-4 to set up a meeting with World No. 12 Belinda Bencic.
The 25-year-old Swiss player beat Tereza Martincova 6-4, 6-2 in her opening match and will face Williams for the fourth time in her career. Williams leads the head-to-head 2-1 against Bencic.