Serena Williams has refused to declare that the US Open will be her last.
The American tennis star played Danka Kovinic in the opening round of the US Open Monday night August 29, in what could have been her final ever singles match, but it seems she will continue playing.
Earlier this month, the 40-year-old revealed she was ‘evolving away’ from tennis and it was expected that the US Open, where she won her first ever Grand Slam title, would be her last tournament.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion has now said that she was going to remain ‘vague’ on her retirement plans.
Asked after her first-round victory Monday night whether this will definitively be her final tournament, Williams replied with a knowing smile: ‘Yeah, I’ve been pretty vague about it, right?’
And then she added: ‘I’m going to stay vague, because you never know.’
Williams had revealed she was ‘evolving away’ from tennis to focus on family and her businesses in an interview with Vogue earlier this month.
When she announced three weeks ago she was ready to move on from being a tennis player, Williams indicated the US Open could be it for her, but she failed to confirm.
In a ceremony celebrating her career Monday night, which was always scheduled to take place, win or lose, Williams thanked the ‘crazy’ Arthur Ashe crowd.
She also addressed her future retirement but did not give an explicit timeframe for her evolution away from the sport.
She said: ‘It’s been such a hard decision. I think when you’re passionate about something and you love something so much, it’s always hard to walk away. Sometimes it gets harder to walk away than not. I’ve been trying to decide what to do for a while. I do [still love this game]. I also love it because it keeps you fit, which is a bonus.
‘I was like, “Alright, I think now’s the time”. I have a family. There’s other chapters in life, I call it an evolution.
‘I have my company, Serena Ventures. Like I said, we invest in a lot of people, women, women of color, and men as well. I really wanted to spend more time at home and work on my spiritual life. It’s like Serena 2.0. I’m still going to be intense… I’ll still be around.’
‘I look forward to waking up and being like, “I don’t have to run to the court today.”, she explained. ‘I’m looking forward to being a good mom. She’s such a good girl.
‘I’m just me, I’m just Serena. I feel like I just blend in with the crowd sometimes. I feel like I do.
‘Just keep coming out and supporting me as long that I’m here. Just know that I love you so much and I’m so excited to be here!’
When asked what she wanted people to remember about her legacy, Williams explained: ‘It’s so important to give your all no matter what you do, how many obstacles you face. I’ve been down so much so many times, in the public eye, and I’ve had to come back… but never give up.
‘It sounds cliched, but no matter what you’re going through, I just want people to be inspired by my story. I’m from Compton, California, and I made it!
‘This is [it]. We’re laying it all out here… I can’t speak for my sister, but it’s going to be so fun playing doubles. It’s going to be crazy. We haven’t done it in so long and I’m really looking forward to it.’
Williams delighted the Arthur Ashe crowd as he beat Kovinic 6-3, 6-3 in exactly 100 minutes.