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Once a little Black girl who picked up a racket at age 3 on a Compton, California court, tennis superstar Serena Williams announces retirement in a Vogue essay at age 40 from the sport that made her and her sister Venus Williams tennis legends.
Serena Williams, in her own words, told the world it’s time for her to move on in a Vogue Magazine self-revealing essay.
At the center of Williams’s retirement decision is another little Black girl named Olympia, her daughter.
Williams recalls a time when her daughter Olympia was in the backseat of their family vehicle, engaged in a learning app. “I want to be a big sister,” Olympia uttered into the device. Williams overheard.
“The fact is that nothing is a sacrifice for me when it comes to Olympia. It all just makes sense. I want to teach her how to tie her shoes, how to read, where babies come from, and about God. Just like my mom taught me,” Williams writes and also admits that she’s ready to expand her family, adding earlier, “I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give,” tennis superstar Serena Williams wrote in Vogue Magazine.
The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has ranked her No. 1 in singles for 319 weeks, including 186 consecutive weeks, and five times as a year-end number one. Many fans consider Williams the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Times) of tennis.
“There are people who say I’m not the GOAT because I didn’t pass Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slam titles, which she achieved before the “open era” that began in 1968. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that record,” the tennis player said.
Williams may only be a 23-time grand slam champion, but others agree that she has already reached GOAT status.
Serena Williams Thanks her Sister Venus Williams
In the self-revealing essay, Williams says that had it not been for her sister Venus, she wouldn’t be who she is today.
“I followed her around the world and watched her. When she lost, I understood why, and I made sure I wouldn’t lose the same way. That’s how I started to move so fast up the rankings, because I learned the lessons from Venus’s losses instead of the hard way, from my own,” adding, “Had I hadn’t been in Venus’s shadow, I would never be who I am.”
She also credits her parents for instilling into her a hard work ethic.
What’s Next for Serena Williams
Besides building her family, Williams has launched her $111 million fund, Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm that focuses on underrepresented founders of color and women startups.
Last month, Williams sat down with Candice Brackeen, co-owner of Lightship Capital, a venture firm, for Black Tech Week in Cincinnati, Ohio.
A beacon for Black technology professionals for years, Black Tech Week was founded in Miami in 2016 by Felecia Hatcher and Derick Pearson. The annual event attracts thousands of individuals from a wide range of industries, backgrounds, and experience levels, all seeking to learn, fellowship, and find a place to belong.
During the conversation with Brackeen, 98% of venture capital goes to White men, the rest to women and people of color. Williams is determined to change that statistic.
“The only way to change that is if people who look like me, people who look like you, and people who look like you guys,” pointing toward Brackeen and the crowded room of Black entrepreneurs, adding, “to be writing the big checks” for Black-IPOC and women startups.
“So I said that I wanted to start Serena Ventures. I want to expand the angel portfolio. Because the number is something that I can’t compute,” she said to the live audience.
Serena Ventures is currently valued at $1 Billion.
“Seventy-eight percent of our portfolio [company] happens to be companies started by women and people of color because that’s who we are,” Williams shares in Vogue.
To Her Fans and Supporters
In closing, Serena Williams shared with those who have revered her: “Please know that I am more grateful for you than I can ever express in words. You have carried me to so many wins and so many trophies. I’m going to miss that version of me, that girl who played tennis. And I’m going to miss you.”