Former World No 1 Serena Williams to Retire from Tennis After US Open

File photo : US Tennis player Serena Williams with a trophy -Sakshi Post

Washington: 23-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams on Tuesday announced her retirement from the sport after this year's U.S. Open starting on Aug. 29. Earlier in the day while dropping a hint at her retirement, Serena said she was “evolving away from tennis”. 

On Monday, 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. The 40-year old tennis great said she detested 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. A few years ago I quietly started Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm. Soon after that, I started a family. I want to grow that family,” Serena wrote in a Vogue article.

She won her last Grand Slam in 2017 while she was two month pregnant and has been chasing an elusive 24th crown. This would draw her level with Australian Margaret Court who holds the record for the most majors. 

“There are people who say I'm not the GOAT (greatest of all time) because I didn't pass Court's record, which she achieved before the 'Open era' that began in 1968,” said former world number one Serena. 

In a glittering 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. She won the so-called “Serena Slam” by winning a sixth Wimbledon crown to hold all four majors for the second time in her career.

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Here is a timeline of her rise to the top of the women's game:

1999: Defeated Martina Hingis in the U.S. Open final, becoming the first African American woman to win a Grand Slam singles title after Althea Gibson in 1958. 

2002-03: Missed the 2002 Australian Open due to injury and then embarked on an incredible run that included winning five of the next six Slams and losing in the 2003 French Open semis. 

2004-07: Career was affected by injury, but she still won Australian Open titles in 2005 and 2007.

2008-09: Won the 2008 U.S. Open to break her Grand Slam drought before claiming the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles the following year.

2010: Joined Billie-Jean King on the all-time Grand Slam list in sixth with her 12th major at the Australian Open.  

2011: Underwent surgery after a life-threatening blood clot was detected on her lung. Made the U.S. Open final but lost to Australia's Sam Stosur. 

2012: Won Wimbledon in 2012 and followed that with Olympic gold on the same grass courts, beating top seed Victoria Azarenka in the semi-finals and third seed Maria Sharapova in final. Won her fourth U.S. Open title, beating Azarenka in the final. 

2013: Won her second Roland Garros crown in 2013, one of 10 titles she lifted that year to reclaim the world's top ranking. Added another U.S. Open title to her collection.

2014: Claimed seven titles, including her sixth U.S. Open, which was her third in succession, to join compatriots Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova on 18 Grand Slam wins. 

2015: Beat Maria Sharapova in the 2015 Australian Open final to secure her 19th Grand Slam title. Despite battling flu, won a third successive major and 20th overall by overcoming Czech Lucie Safarova in the French Open final.

2017: Won her seventh Australian Open title in 2017 to go ahead of Graf with the most Grand Slam singles titles in the open era. Australia's Margaret Court won 24 but the majority came in the amateur era.

2018-19: Faltered in the finals of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in both years after returning to tennis following the birth of her daughter Olympia a year earlier.

2021-22: Did not play competitive tennis since limping out of her opening match at Wimbledon in 2021 due to a leg injury. Returned to Wimbledon this year but lost in the first round. Announced her intention to retire following this year's U.S. Open.

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