Serena Williams retirement: Tom Brady quip, ‘cool trend’, US Open farewell
Serena Williams was given a legendary send off at the US Open, but the 40-year-old may have news for the world.
One of the greatest tennis players of all-time, Williams was given a hero’s farewell before and after each of her matches before Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic ended her career in the third round of the tournament.
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Short of a 24th grand slam victory, it was about as good a send off Williams could have hoped for after knocking out second seed Anett Kontaveit in the second round.
But the tennis champion has invoked the name of NFL star Tom Brady, who retired at the end of last NFL season only to backflip weeks later, in several interviews.
Williams told Good Morning America that she liked the example of the 45-year-old NFL star.
“You never know,” Williams said. “I’ve been saying that I think Tom Brady started a really cool trend.”
Williams, however, didn’t commit to following in the footsteps of the seven-time Super Bowl champion who led Tampa Bay to victory in last week’s NFL season opener.
Serena’s older sister and a seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus has been trying to get Serena to make a comeback, despite herself being 42.
“She’s not done yet,” Serena said. “This is just me. She’s trying to get me and I’m like, ‘No.’”
Asked if she might keep a “foot” in the world of competitive tennis “in some way,” Williams indicated the sport was in her future plans, but those remain uncertain.
“I feel like tennis has given me so much,” Williams said. “I feel like there’s no way I don’t want to be involved in tennis somehow in the future.
“I don’t know what that involvement is yet but I do know that I love the sport so much, I love the game. I love everything about it. It has just been such a light in my life. I definitely want to keep something involved in that.”
Williams said that “it hasn’t quite sunk in yet” that she is moving on because after two days of sleep following her final loss she has been busy every day as a business owner and mother.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” Williams said of her final event. “I’ll never forget those moments. It was pretty awesome.”
Williams repeated the Brady line on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon as well after the host asked: ““There’s no chance of you pulling a Tom Brady and saying, ‘Maybe I’m evolving to coming back?’”
Williams has been careful not to say the R-word, instead announcing she was “evolving” away from tennis.
“I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me,” Williams wrote in Vogue.
“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.”
Williams has a venture capital firm called Serena Ventures and said she plans to “grow that family.”
Williams and her Reddit founder husband Alexis Ohanian have one child at the moment, daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., who won over the crowd at the US Open.
But after her final match, she left the door ajar for a comeback when asked if there was any chance she would extend her career.
“I don’t think so, but you never know. I don’t know,” she said.
Well, if the door was ajar before, she just kicked it open.
But she also revealed before the US Open, only her therapist knew of her plans before her Vogue article which revealed her “evolution” away from the sport.
“I think retirement is something that’s super-earned, that people work really hard for,” she said on The Tonight Show.
“But I just feel like I’m at an age where I definitely have a lot more to give, there’s a lot more I want to do, and so, I’m not going to be relaxing, there is so much more for me and I feel it’s more like an evolution of Serena.
“And there’s so many things that I’ve been wanting to do for so many years and I have such a passion for tennis for so long that I have never done it but now it’s time for me to, like, try to enjoy those things.”