The 23-time Grand Slam winner announced in an emotional article for Vogue that she would be “evolving away from tennis”.
Making it clear that she did not like the word “retirement”, Williams said she would be moving towards “other things that are important to me”.
Her transition from tennis is expected to begin after the US Open, which will be staged in New York from August 29th to September 11th.
Williams made it clear she will find it very difficult to step away from tennis, but that she was compelled to consider retirement after her daughter Olympia revealed she wanted a baby sister.
She then highlighted the reality of being a female athlete who wants to have children – it’s not impossible to do both, but it’s a conundrum that male athletes do not have to face.
“Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family,” Williams said. “I don’t think it’s fair.
“If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labour of expanding our family. Maybe I’d be more of a Tom Brady if I had that opportunity.
“Don’t get me wrong: I love being a woman, and I loved every second of being pregnant with Olympia.
“I was one of those annoying women who adored being pregnant and was working until the day I had to report to the hospital—although things got super complicated on the other side.
“And I almost did do the impossible: A lot of people don’t realise that I was two months pregnant when I won the Australian Open in 2017. But I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give.”
Williams has been a trailblazer in women’s sport, continuously raising the bar for female athletes around the world.
She won more Grand Slam titles than any female player in the Open era, and the second most of all-time, behind Margaret Court’s 24.