Serena Williams to Retire

Serena Williams serving during a tennis match
Serena Williams serving during a tennis match (source)

Tennis player Serena Williams has announced that she will soon stop playing professional tennis. Williams turns 41 in September, but age is not her reason for retiring. In an essay published by Vogue magazine, Williams said that she wants to keep playing, but that she was choosing to focus on having a second child.

Serena Williams is arguably the greatest tennis player of all time. In the professional era (since 1968), she has 23 Grand Slam singles titles. That is one more than Steffi Graf and Rafael Nadal. With her sister, Venus, she also has 14 Grand Slam doubles championships.

The story of the tennis-playing sisters and their demanding father, Richard Williams, was recently told in the popular movie, King Richard. While the tennis will end, Serena looks set to continue her story in other areas, including venture capital, with her company, Serena Ventures.

In her Vogue piece, Williams says she does not like the word, ‘retirement.’ Instead, she prefers to say that she is ‘evolving away from tennis.’ The U.S. Open at the end of August may be her final tournament and another step in the evolution of a tennis great.


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Useful Language

  • Announce (v) - to tell people something officially
  • Focus on (phr. v) - to give a lot of attention to something
  • Arguably (adv) - this may be true, but some people disagree
  • Professional (adj) - being paid to do something
  • Era (n) - a period of time
  • Grand Slam (n) - the most important type of competition in tennis
  • Set (adj) - ready to do something
  • Venture capital (n) - investing in new businesses
  • Evolve (v) - to develop gradually
  • Great (n) - a famous person in a particular area


Discuss the following questions with your partner(s).

  1. What do you think about tennis? Is it a good sport to play? Is it a good sport to watch?
  2. Which sports are you a fan of?
  3. Do you think Serena is the greatest tennis player of all time? Why or why not?
  4. Can you understand why Serena wants to focus on her family?
  5. Did you see King Richard? How was it? If not, are you interested in watching it?
  6. Venture capitalists look for new businesses to invest in. Can you recognize a good investment opportunity?
  7. What is a good age for most people to retire?
  8. Why does Serena not like the word ‘retirement,’ in your opinion?
  9. What would you like to evolve away from?
  10. Talk about ‘a great’ in an area that is not tennis. For example, choose a literary great, a scientific great, or a sporting great and say what you know about them.