Serena Williams Heads Into Retirement As A Tennis Icon — And … – Forbes

Serena Williams after successful her first-round match on the 2019 French Open.
Serena Williams acknowledged for the primary time Tuesday that she was retiring from tennis, saying in a poignant as-told-to cowl story in Vogue that she had made the troublesome determination to present her household her full consideration.
“Consider me, I by no means wished to have to decide on between tennis and a household. I don’t assume it’s honest,” wrote Williams, who didn’t specify precisely when she’s going to cling up her racket however is about to play within the U.S. Open, which begins August 29. “If I had been a man, I wouldn’t be scripting this as a result of I’d be on the market taking part in and successful whereas my spouse was doing the bodily labor of increasing our household.”
Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam singles champion, expressed some frustration that she couldn’t solidify her declare as tennis’ biggest of all-time by passing Margaret Court docket’s report of 24 main titles. However she will be able to take some solace in the truth that she has modified the sport for feminine athletes financially.
Williams, who turns 41 subsequent month, has earned $94.6 million in profession prize cash on the WTA Tour, greater than double the next-best mark, the $42.3 million posted by her sister Venus. She has been much more profitable off the court docket, incomes greater than $340 million (earlier than taxes and brokers’ charges) from endorsements, appearances and different enterprise endeavors, in keeping with Forbes estimates. In Might, she landed at No. 31 in Forbes’ annual rating of the world’s highest-paid athletes with $45.3 million—nearly all of it from endorsements—regardless of having been sidelined by accidents for ten months.
Williams has greater than a dozen company companions, and whilst her taking part in schedule has dwindled, with not more than eight tournaments in a yr since 2015, she has remained an inescapable presence on tv screens, showing in two separate Tremendous Bowl commercials this yr, for Michelob Extremely and Tonal. That has helped safe her a spot on Forbes’ checklist of America’s richest self-made ladies, at No. 90 with an estimated web price of $260 million. Maria Sharapova (No. 97, $220 million) is the one different athlete on the checklist.
Advertisers haven’t at all times given her her due. Sharapova outpaced her off the court docket for 11 straight years, as an example, even whereas Williams was piling up Grand Slams. However a late-career resurgence helped Williams finish that streak in 2016, and there’s no arguing together with her longevity. When Sharapova retired in 2020 at 32, she had earned roughly $290 million off the court docket, greater than $50 million behind Williams’ profession complete. Williams’ advertising success has paved the best way for a new era in ladies’s sports activities, together with fellow tennis champion Naomi Osaka, who ranked nineteenth on this yr’s highest-paid athletes with $59.2 million, together with $58 million off the court docket, a report for a feminine athlete.
A lot of Williams’ endorsements are more likely to proceed into her retirement, simply as Sharapova has continued to advertise Nike, Evian and Porsche. However her consideration has more and more turned to investing, primarily by way of Serena Ventures. The agency, which she formally introduced in 2019 and which focuses on early-stage firms, has investments in additional than 60 startups and introduced in March that it had raised an inaugural fund of $111 million. Williams wrote in her Vogue essay that the agency had funded 16 unicorns and famous that 78% % of the businesses in its portfolio had been based by ladies and folks of coloration.
She has lots else to maintain her busy after she leaves tennis, together with a board seat with SurveyMonkey’s guardian, Momentive, and a board advisor put up with NFT firm Sorare. Her first youngsters’s ebook is because of be launched subsequent month, and she or he is increasing her sports activities property, investing in NWSL enlargement membership Angel Metropolis FC in 2020 after shopping for a small stake within the NFL’s Miami Dolphins in 2009.
Williams, who received the 2017 Australian Open whereas pregnant together with her daughter, Olympia, made clear in her essay that she wished to give attention to her household, writing that she and her husband, Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, have been attempting to have one other baby.
“I positively don’t wish to be pregnant once more as an athlete,” she wrote. “I have to be two ft into tennis or two ft out.”
The tennis world will mourn her departure, however she has left an indelible mark.

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