Welp, Serena Williams has retired from the game of tennis after spending the better part of three decades dominating the sport. The 39 Grand Slam champion made the announcement on Monday in an article she wrote for Vogue.
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“I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me,” Williams wrote. “I’ve been thinking of this as a transition, but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people. 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.”
Listen: Serena Williams owes us absolutely nothing. She is to the tennis world what Michael Jordan is to basketball, what Wayne Gretzky is to hockey, what Tiger Woods is to golf and what Storm is to the X-men. (I may have nerded out a bit on that last one.) She’s given us more than enough. Still, it’s intriguing to think about what’s next for one of the world’s greatest athletes. What exactly is she “evolving” towards?
So, here are five ways Serena Williams can still win after tennis.
1. Tennis camps in the hood.
As a Black woman who came up in Compton, California, it would be dope to see Serena add to her legacy tennis camps placed exclusively in Black, underserved neighborhoods, wouldn’t it? Just imagine all the future Serena Williams out there who would get their start in a sport Black inner city kids have historically been excluded from. Black folk could end up dominating the sport just because it was made more accessible to them when they were young.
2. A new clothing line.
Serena Williams isn’t just a person. At this point she’s a living, breathing brand. This is only to say she could probably attract her name to anything and it would become popular. So, how about fashion? Whether it’s sportswear or fits for the street, the club, or anywhere else people wear quality clothing, it’s easy to imagine how many people would go wild for clothes with “Serena” scribed across them.
3. Speaking engagements.
Who wouldn’t pay whatever Wiliams’ price is to have her inspire people from the stage the same way she did on the tennis court? The woman can obviously write a good op-ed piece, so we know she’s great with words. She could take the stage and literally draw massive attention to any cause of her choosing, or she could teach entire seminars on how to be great in tennis. It would be her words and her world.
Look—if ex-NFL players like Herschel Walker can run for a senate seat while being a perpetual liar who couldn’t string together a coherent sentence to save his life, certainly there’s room in the government for honorable and articulate Black women who were once legendary athletes. Then again, we’ve seen how the GOP does any Black woman with a mind of her own in politics. I wouldn’t wish that kind of stress on the champ.
5. Absolutely nothing.
Again, Serena doesn’t owe us a thing. She’s done enough that she could do absolutely nothing but stay home and be with family and still have her legacy intact. Imagine being the young age of 40 and already having her list of achievements. Imagine being able to do nothing and still be prosperous.
In fact, Williams did mention in her article that she plans to grow her family and her venture capital firm, so she gave us a peak at what’s next for her. Still, she was also very candid about the pain she feels in leaving the sport she loves and dedicated her life to.
“There is no happiness in this topic for me. I know it’s not the usual thing to say, but I feel a great deal of pain,” Williams wrote. “It’s the hardest thing that I could ever imagine. I hate it. I hate that I have to be at this crossroads. I keep saying to myself, I wish it could be easy for me, but it’s not. I’m torn: I don’t want it to be over, but at the same time I’m ready for what’s next.”
So are we, sis. So are we.
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