Serena Williams has dropped a retirement bombshell in her post-match press conference at the Canadian Open, saying she can 'see the light at the end of the tunnel'.
The 40-year-old won her first singles match in 430 days on Monday, beating Nuria Parrizas Diaz 6-3 6-4 at the hard-court event in Toronto.
Speaking in her press conference after the drought-breaking win, the 23-time grand slam champion was asked what keeps her motivated to keep playing into her 40s.
But Serena admitted the only thing motivating her at the moment is the fact she will soon be retiring.
"I guess there’s just a light at the end of the tunnel," she said.
“I don’t know, I’m getting closer to the light, so… lately that's been it for me. I can’t wait to get to that light."
When asked what "the light" means to her, she responded "freedom".
"I love playing though, so it’s like, amazing," she added.
"But, you know, I can’t do this forever.
"Sometimes you just want to try your best to enjoy the moments, and do the best that you can."
— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) August 8, 2022
The bombshell admission was the biggest hint yet that Serena will be hanging up the racquet soon, with many speculating she will bow out at the US Open in front of her home fans later this month.
Tennis fans and commentators were sent into a frenzy over her comments on Monday.
Wow she would soon retire wow
— Richard Brown (@RichardBrown007) August 8, 2022
Freedom from tennis, I assume? We ( I think it is safe to assume I'm not the only one) don't like the light talk, Serena. It is scaring us. Please choose a different metaphor. We know you can't play forever but...
— CWOSSANT (@hubbyhunster) August 8, 2022
I don’t like this kind of talk at all 🥺
— Bitch on Wheels (@norwickdrive) August 8, 2022
Serena Williams wins first singles match in 430 days
Williams returned from a one-year absence at Wimbledon last month after recovering from a hamstring injury, going down to Harmony Tan in the first round.
The win in Toronto on Monday was her first since turning 40 and it gave the American veteran a timely boost ahead of the US Open.
Williams became just the fourth player since 2000 to win a WTA-Tour level main-draw match after turning 40, joining Martina Navratilova, Kimiko Date-Krumm and sister Venus.
She is also now the all-time leader for wins at the Canadian Open in the Open Era, claiming her 35th victory at the event to break a tie with Chris Evert.
One of 14 major winners in the main draw of the hard-court event, Williams clinched the opening set on her fourth attempt with a vintage smash that Parrizas Diaz had no chance of returning.
The second set was a much tighter affair and Williams did well to hold serve in a physically demanding 18-minute game during which she used her power to fight off four break points to level at 4-4.
She then broke Parrizas Dias before serving out the match.
Serena has spent more than 300 weeks at No.1 in the world, but is currently down at 407 after her long absence from the tour.
Speaking at Wimbledon about her hopes of playing the US Open, she said: “When you’re at home, especially in New York, and the US Open, that being the first place I’ve won a grand slam, is something that’s always super special.
“There’s definitely lots of motivation to get better and to play at home.”
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