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After 27 years and $450 million in earnings, Serena Williams to retire after US Open

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Serena Williams is one of the biggest names in tennis with 7 Wimbledon titles under her belt and 23 Grand slam titles. Her rather impressive career spans almost three decades as she began playing when she was a teenager. In that time, she has made more than $350 million in endorsement deals which brings her total earnings to $450 million.

In an essay she wrote herself for Vogue, Serena shared her plans to retire. Serena even said she couldn’t talk about it with her husband or her family because of how heavy it weighed on her. Only sharing those thoughts with her therapist at first, Serena was finally ready to talk about the decision to retire after the US 2022 Open.

Her reasons for retirement

Serena said in her essay that she never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair. She stated that if she was a man, she would not be writing the essay or even announcing a retirement because her wife would be doing the physical labour of growing the family. She added that she loved being a woman, and she loved every moment of being pregnant with her daughter and even worked until the day it was time to give birth.

As natural as childbirth is, it is also one of the most dangerous things a woman can go through. Serena experienced complications following the birth of her daughter, Olympia. While the pregnancy and carrying to term was relatively easy for Serena, the birth was not. Olympia was born through an emergency c-section after her heart rate dropped dramatically during contractions. She had a pulmonary embolism which resulted in an intense cough that popped her stitches. When she went in for surgery for that to be corrected, doctors found a large hematoma in her abdomen.

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When weighing her options and looking at everything she has accomplished, she wants to focus on her family and her business.

What she plans to do

In 2014, Serena Williams started Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm that seeks to invest in consumer products, consumer services, healthcare, information technology, TMT, e-commerce, and wellness sectors. Soon after that, she started a family and now she wants to grow that family.

Serena’s accomplishments thus far

  • Serena Williams is a household name. Years ago, she joined the ranks of Michael Jordan, Muhammed Ali, and Michael Phelps as one of the greatest athletes of all time.
  • She has been ranked singles world No. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) for 319 weeks, including a joint-record 186 consecutive weeks, and finished as the year-end No. 1 five times.
  • She has also won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the most by any player in the Open Era, and the second-most of all time (behind Margaret Court’s 24).
  • Serena also has a long standing, lucrative partnership with Nike as well as Puma. In April of this year, Nike opened the Serena Williams Building, which is the largest structure at the company’s headquarters at more than one million square feet.
  • Serena currently has more than a dozen endorsement partners, some of which include Gatorade, Subway, Wilson, Audemars Piguet and Beats.
  • She ranked at 52 in Sportico’s ranking this year of the world’s highest-paid athletes, with $35.3 million. Her prize money for the 12 months ending in May was only $270,000, but she earned an estimated $35 million off the court, excluding investment earnings. Naomi Osaka was the only other female athlete to get to the get on the top 100 list.
  • She founded Serena Ventures, which has invested in more than 60 companies. 78% of the investments made are in companies started by women or people of colour. The firm raised $111 million for its inaugural fund, announced this year.
  • Serena was also two months pregnant when she won the Australian Open in 2017.

She will also be playing in the U.S. Open, which started yesterday, August 29.