Serena Williams, one of the greatest tennis players in history, says she's just about ready to retire from the sport after a 27-year-long career and 23 grand slam singles titles.
The 40-year-old revealed that she will be saying "farewell" to tennis in a lengthy interview with Vogue, which was released Tuesday. She described it as a tough decision but said it will allow her to focus on other things, such as raising a family and expanding various business ventures.
"Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don't think it's fair," Williams said during the interview. "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."
Williams is married to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, with whom she shares almost five-year-old Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.
During the interview, Williams shared that her daughter asks for a little sister to join their little family "a lot," and as the youngest of five sisters herself, Williams feels the need to fulfill her daughter's wishes.
Williams shared that her daughter even "prays to Jehovah to bring her a baby sister."
"I have never liked the word retirement," she said, adding that she would rather call it an "evolution."
She also doesn't sound particularly excited about the change.
"There is no happiness in this topic for me. I know it's not the usual thing to say, but I feel a great deal of pain. It's the hardest thing that I could ever imagine. I hate it," she shared.
"I hate that I have to be at this crossroads. I keep saying to myself, I wish it could be easy for me, but it's not. I'm torn: I don't want it to be over, but at the same time I'm ready for what's next."
Williams has been playing tennis since she was three, and since then, the sport has been her entire life.
She first became a professional tennis player in 1995 and went on to make a name for herself as one of the world's best tennis players, winning the French Open, U.S. Open, Wimbledon and the Australian Open by 2003, per the National Museum of African American History & Culture.
She did much of it with her sister Venus at her side — or on the other side of the court.
"I've been reluctant to admit to myself or anyone else that I have to move on from playing tennis," she added. "It's like it's not real until you say it out loud. It comes up, I get an uncomfortable lump in my throat, and I start to cry."
Her final match will be the U.S. Open, which will begin later this month and go into September, reported The Guardian. That means her final match will be no later than September 10 if she makes it to the women's final.
She dropped the announcement while she was in Toronto for the Canadian Open.