Serena Williams has revealed she is “playing just for me” as she prepares to return to the tennis court.
The 40-year-old is currently chasing a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam, but has not been present on the WTA Tour since withdrawing from Wimbledon in June with a hamstring injury.
The same injury kept her away from the US Open, before she chose not to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the Australian Open.
Williams suggested on social media last week that she may return to action at Wimbledon, 12 months since she last competed.
This put to bed retirement rumours that had intensified after her coach Patrick Mouratoglou announced he would be working full-time with former world number one Simona Halep.
In an interview with Insider, Williams discussed her future, disclosing that she enjoyed the current stage of her career “in a different way”.
“This chapter makes me happy because for so many years I’ve played, and I’ve loved doing it, but now I’m playing just for me,” she said.
“I compete when and where I want to go, but I don’t have to go. So I’m enjoying it in a different way.”
Williams admitted she suffered from “Mom guilt” when spending time away from her four-year-old daughter, Alexis Olympia.
It is thought the tennis legend did not compete at Tokyo 2020 due to the restrictions on family members at the Games, demonstrating just how important Williams feels it is to have her daughter close.
“Mom guilt is real. I always feel so guilty when I’m doing something on my own,” she said. “I don’t know if I’m a good mom, and I don’t know if my method works, but I’m very hands-on with my daughter, and it was the same with our parents.
“So I’ve set really good boundaries, but then after work, I’m going right to my daughter. And that’s amazing and good, but now it’s like, ‘Okay, what happens to Serena?’”
If Williams does choose to retire soon, she has plenty to be getting on with away from the tennis court.
This includes Serena Ventures, an investment firm which aims to back founders with diverse points of view. So far, 53 percent of the founders they’ve invested in are women, and 47 percent are Black.
Williams revealed she enjoyed the negative comments directed towards her after launching Serena Ventures.
“Whether it’s venture people saying that I shouldn’t be doing it, or it’s tennis when people said I’ll never be good at it, I do think there’s a part of me that always will enjoy proving people wrong,” she said. “And sometimes you just need something to feed the fire, right?”