Serena and Venus Williams say they “never planned to just play tennis” as they discussed potential plans for life after retiring from the sport. Venus, 41, and Serena, 40, are both still competing, but admit they are excited about being “free” once they hang up their rackets. Serena, who has 23 Grand Slam singles titles, says she is not thinking about her legacy in the game.
Venus and Serena Williams expect to find it “surreal” to explore the freedom that their retirement from tennis will give them.
The sisters have been global icons since the 1990’s, racking up 30 Grand Slam women’s singles titles between them and helping to change the way the game is played.
But their long careers in tennis – both broke through in their teenage years – means that they have not been able to fully commit to other endeavours.
Williams has been ‘prepared for retirement for over a decade’, wants more kidsWilliams has been ‘prepared for retirement for over a decade’, wants more kids
That’s something that is likely to change in the near future, as the pair revealed to Harper’s Bazaar.
Venus said: “We never planned to just only play tennis and just only be tennis players.
“We planned to do more. Serena and I say we’re going to become body builders after tennis. It might be extreme. It might not happen exactly like that, but you never know.
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“From such a young age, all we’ve done is work. So I think for Serena and I to explore that freedom is surreal. We’ve never been free.”
In an extraordinary admission – given her record 23 major titles – Venus said Serena was doubted as a young player, but that it fired her drive to achieve what she has.
“Usually in one family there’s one good player and then the other one is not that great,” Venus candidly explained. “And I think people told Serena she wouldn’t be great.
“The fearlessness with which she approached the game was something I’ve always really admired.
“SHE DOESN’T ACCEPT SECOND. SHE EXPLICITLY TOLD ME HERSELF THAT SHE PLAYS FOR FIRST PLACE.
Serena continues to chase down Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles which has so far proved elusive since winning her last major at the Australian Open in 2017.
She will leave a huge legacy in the game whatever happens, but the 40-year-old insists she is more focused on who she is away from the spotlight.
Serena said: “That [legacy] is something I don’t think about nor do I want. I don’t want to think about what I’m leaving.
“I just think about who I am every single day behind closed doors and behind cameras. And that’s what I focus on.”