Serena Williams on Tuesday announced that she is ready to step away from tennis after winning 23 Grand Slam titles, turning her focus to having another child and her business interests. Williams hinted that the US Open will be her last tournament but does not say so explicitly. (More Sports News)
Williams, one of the greatest and most accomplished athletes in the history of her — or any other — sport, said she does not like the word retirement and prefers to think of this stage of her life as ‘evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me’.
Williams is playing this week in Toronto, at a hard-court tournament that leads into the US Open, the year's last Grand Slam event, which begins in New York on August 29. The American has won more Grand Slam singles titles in the professional era than any other woman or man.
Only one player, Margaret Court, collected more, 24, although she won a portion of hers in the amateur era. While celebrating her decorated career, let’s take a look as Williams’ five-best moments.
First Singles Grand Slam
Serena Williams’ first career Grand Slam singles title in 1999 at the US Open will always remain special. On her way to the quarterfinals, Serena defeated Kimberly Po, Jelena Kostanic, Kim Clijsters and Conchita Martinez. In the last eight Serena got better of Monica Seles before knocking of defending champion Lindsay Davenport in the semis. Serena defeated Martina Hingis in the final to become the second Black woman since Althea Gibson in 1958 to earn a Grand Slam singles title.
2001 Indian Wells Win
The 2001 Indian Wells win will be remembered for Serene Williams’ mental toughness. After her highly-anticipated semifinal against Venus was cancelled following the latter’s tendonitis injury, their father, Richard Williams, being accused of match fixing, Serena still showed immense mentally stability as she competed in the final. During her summit clash win over Kim Clijsters, Serena was even booed by the white fans. What followed was Williams boycotting the event for 14 years.
The First 'Serena Slam'
The first Serena Slam came in 2002. After winning the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open with dominant display, the Australian Open final was a family affair for Serena with sister Venus on the opposite side. Serena won 7–6(7–4), 3–6, 6–4 to win the title to complete ‘Serena Slam’. Interestingly, that was Venus’ record fourth consecutive runner-up finish at Grand Slam events, losing every final to Serena.
2007 Australian Open Comeback
After her 2003 Wimbledon title, Serena Williams’ form derailed by a knee injury that sidelined for the rest of the year. But what followed was even more disturbing. As she recovered from the setback, Serena’s older half-sister and former personal assistant Yetunde Price was shot and killed leaving her in depression. However, Serene is Serena. The American returned to form with the 2007 Australian Open title beating Maria Sharapova in the final. She didn’t slow down as she won 2008 US Open, as well as the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2009.
2017 Grand Slam Victory
The 2017 Australian Open victory will always hold a special place in Serena Williams’ career. Not only because it was her 23rd Grand Slam but also because she won it while being eight months pregnant. The then 35-year-old, defeated sister Venus Williams in the final without losing a set and surpassed Steffi Graf’s 22 titles. She missed the remainder of the season and gave birth to a daughter in September of that year, who she named Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.