Serena Williams' pointed dig at Margaret Court in retirement reveal

·Sports Editor
·5-min read
Serena Williams took a dig at Serena Williams after announcing her retirement. Image: Getty
Serena Williams took a dig at Serena Williams after announcing her retirement. Image: Getty

Serena Williams has taken a veiled swipe at Margaret Court after revealing she will retire from tennis after the US Open.

The 23-time grand slam champion announced on Tuesday that she will hang up the racquet for good after her home grand slam in New York - which starts later this month.

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In an article for Vogue magazine, the 40-year-old said she wants to grow her family and doesn't want to do so while playing tennis.

"I have never liked the word retirement," she wrote.

"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.

"A few years ago I quietly started Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm. Soon after that, I started a family. I want to grow that family."

While opening up about her desire to have more children, Williams also managed to take a parting shot at Aussie tennis great Court.

The American champion has been stranded on 23 grand slam titles - one behind Court's all-time record of 24 - for over five years.

She won her 23rd major at the Australian Open in 2017 while pregnant with daughter Alexis Olympia, but has lost four grand slam finals since that time.

Williams addressed Court's record and the 'GOAT' debate in her article, pointing out that Court won all of her titles before the professional era of tennis.

"There are people who say I'm not the GOAT (greatest of all time) because I didn't pass Court's record, which she achieved before the 'Open era' that began in 1968," the former World No.1 said.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't want that record. Obviously I do. But day to day, I'm really not thinking about her.

"If I'm in a Slam final, then yes, I'm thinking about that record. Maybe I thought about it too much, and that didn't help."

Serena Williams, pictured here after the Wimbledon final in 2019.
Serena Williams has lost four grand slam finals since winning her 23rd major. (Photo by Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)

Williams has had four opportunities to equal Court's record, making the Wimbledon and US Open finals in both 2018 and 2019.

However she's fallen at the final hurdle on all four occasions, leaving her stranded on 23 majors.

“The way I see it, I should have had 30-plus grand slams," she said.

"I had my chances after coming back from giving birth. I went from a C-section to a second pulmonary embolism to a grand slam final. I played while breastfeeding. I played through post-partum depression.

“But I didn’t get there. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. I didn’t show up the way I should have or could have.

"But I showed up 23 times, and that’s fine. Actually it’s extraordinary. But these days, if I have to choose between building my tennis resumé and building my family, I choose the latter.”

Margaret Court, pictured here with Pat Cash and John Newcombe at Wimbledon.
Margaret Court with Pat Cash and John Newcombe at Wimbledon. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Serena Williams plays down expectations for US Open

After a one-year absence from the WTA tour due to a hamstring injury, the 40-year-old made her return at Wimbledon in June but lost in the first round.

"Unfortunately I wasn't ready to win Wimbledon this year. And I don't know if I will be ready to win New York. But I'm going to try," she wrote.

"I know there's a fan fantasy that I might have tied Margaret that day in London, then maybe beat her record in New York... It's a good fantasy. But I'm not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment.

"I'm terrible at goodbyes, the world's worst. But please know that I am more grateful for you than I can ever express in words... And I'm going to miss you."

Williams later said in an Instagram post that it was time to move in a "different direction."

"That time is always hard when you love something so much," she added. "My goodness do I enjoy tennis.

"But now, the countdown has begun. I have to focus on being a mom, my spiritual goals and finally discovering a different, but just exciting Serena. I'm gonna relish these next few weeks."

In heartbreaking fashion, Williams said there is "no happiness" in her decision.

“I know it’s not the usual thing to say, but I feel a great deal of pain,” she added.

“It’s the hardest thing that I could ever imagine. I hate it. I hate that I have to be at this crossroads.

"I keep saying to myself, I wish it could be easy for me, but it’s not. I’m torn: I don’t want it to be over, but at the same time I’m ready for what’s next.”

with AAP

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