Serena Williams to Hang up Her Racket as she Leaves Behind a Legacy of Many Wins and Standing up For Many Issues

FILE – Serena Williams, of the United States celebrates a point against compatriot Christina McHale during their women’s singles match on day five of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 1, 2016. Saying “the countdown has begun,” 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams said Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, she is ready to step away from tennis so she can turn her focus to having another child and her business interests, presaging the end of a career that transcended sports. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

A couple of days before Serena Williams claimed the 22nd of her 23 Grand Slam singles titles at Wimbledon in 2016, she was asked what she makes of it when people refer to her as one of history’s greatest female athletes.


Her reply: She prefers being characterized as “one of the greatest athletes of all time.”

That one, brief response from Williams said quite a lot — about her one-of-a-kind talent with a racket in hand, about her status as an icon, about her willingness to stand up for herself, about why women’s sports should not be thought of any differently than men’s sports.

That all came to mind again Tuesday, when Williams indicated she is preparing to walk away from her professional tennis career as the start of the U.S. Open approaches on Aug. 29 and her 41st birthday next month nears.

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