The 23-time Grand Slam winner revealed in an essay for Vogue that she’ll be “evolving away from tennis” after the 2022 U.S. Open later this month. Following the tournament, Serena wrote that she wants to focus on growing her family, which already includes husband Alexis Ohanian and their 4-year-old daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.
“In the last year, Alexis and I have been trying to have another child,” Serena—who gave birth to Olympia in Sept. 2017—shared in her piece for Vogue, “and we recently got some information from my doctor that put my mind at ease and made me feel that whenever we’re ready, we can add to our family. I definitely don’t want to be pregnant again as an athlete. I need to be two feet into tennis or two feet out.”
As for having to choose between her sport and her family, Serena doesn’t think that’s fair.
“If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labor of expanding our family,” she noted. “Maybe I’d be more of a Tom Brady if I had that opportunity.”
“Don’t get me wrong: I love being a woman, and I loved every second of being pregnant with Olympia,” Serena added. “I was one of those annoying women who adored being pregnant and was working until the day I had to report to the hospital—although things got super complicated on the other side.”
And they don’t call her the G.O.A.T. for nothing. “I almost did do the impossible: A lot of people don’t realize that I was two months pregnant when I won the Australian Open in 2017,” she continued. “But I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give.”
As Serena shared earlier this year in an essay for Elle, Olympia’s arrival into the world wasn’t an easy one. In fact, Serena’s birth plan was forced to change when Olympia’s heart rate kept dropping, leading the athlete to undergo a C-section. Then, after spending the night with newborn Olympia in her hospital room, Serena experienced “excruciating pain” in her legs and a consistent cough that burst her C-section stitches.
After a week in the hospital, during which doctors discovered a blood clot in her lungs and led Serena to undergo numerous surgeries, she was able to go home with her baby.
However, as Serena herself wrote in her essay, “Despite my body’s wreckage—and the fact that I couldn’t get in much breastfeeding—connecting with Olympia at long last was amazing; it was both the reward and the validation for all I’d been through.”