Serena Williams has cast doubt over the “retirement” word as she discussed her life after tennis in a new interview.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion ended her remarkable career at last year’s US Open but has avoided claiming that she “retired” multiple times since, and doubled down on her comments recently in a hint that she could one day make a return to the court.
Williams’ historic 27-year career came to an end last year as she officially hung up her racket at the US Open after her run to the third round.
The former world No 1 announced that she would be “evolving away from tennis” in an essay for Vogue magazine in the weeks leading up to her final tournament but has continued to drop hints that she hadn’t entirely retired since hitting her final ball.
“I don’t think so, but you never know. I don’t know,” she said in the on-court interview for her last match against Ajla Tomljanovic when asked whether she would reconsider her retirement. And the 73-time title winner has now sparked hopes of a potential return once again following her latest comments on retirement.
“I definitely am evolving,” Williams told CBS Mornings in a new interview discussing the decision to end her career, as she explained why she didn’t think her decision fit the term “retirement”. She continued: “Because I feel like when you retire, it’s different.
“You put up your gloves or your club or your racket or whatever that is, or your computer, and then you just relax. And you go and you just basically take life in. And that’s not what I’m doing.”
The Open Era Grand Slam title record-holder has previously refused to use the word retirement for her choice to stop playing tennis, explaining that was why she chose to announce that she was “evolving away” in her initial announcement. And Williams clearly still feels the same, telling Gayle King: “I just feel like, for me, retirement is such a big word for someone at my age.
“And I was just like, ‘Um I don’t think … that really fits me.’ I never really fit in a box anyway. Never. I just need to be out of that. I just need an arm out of the box, or a leg. Something.” It’s not the first time Williams has hinted at a retirement U-turn as she dropped a joke about returning to the Australian Open during her final event in Flushing Meadows.
“I don’t know. I’m not thinking about that. I always did love Australia, though,” she said when asked whether she’d ever play another event, though the seven-time Aussie Open winner wasn’t in Melbourne for the tournament last month.
And less than two months after her farewell tournament at the US Open, the 41-year-old also said: “I am not retired,” while speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference.