Serena Williams has opened up about the reasons why she chose to retire last year, despite being fit, healthy and good enough to still be winning matches without having hit a tennis ball in months.
Last summer, Williams announced that she was 'evolving away' from tennis ahead of the hard-court swing in North America, meaning this stretch of this season was her final farewell tour. The drawn-out goodbye culminated in a third-round loss to Ajla Tomljanovic at the US Open, thus ending the 41-year-old's historic career.
There has been much speculation before and since whether this was indeed the end for the 23-time Grand Slam champion, as she was fit and healthy enough to compete well in New York.
In a recent exclusive interview with 'E!', however, Serena has spoken candidly about why she chose to walk away when she did, and why that was the right time for her to do so.
Actually, I did play the other day, and it's just like, 'There's no way I shouldn't be playing professional tennis. Like, there's literally no excuse. But I mean, I guess there is an excuse, right? It's hard because when I'm playing, I'm like, 'Oh my gosh, I'm pretty good at this. I can continue to do this,' which not a lot of people can say. I also wanted to walk away when I'm healthy and have a quality of life.
I don't want it to be over, but at the same time I'm ready for what's next. I for sure feel more at peace now. It's interesting. I think I feel torn because I'm still able to play at a very, very, very high level. With that being said, I always wanted to leave the game playing at a very high level. But it's hard because it's like, 'Oh my gosh, I could still play, and I could still do all that stuff.'....But I'm inch by inch leaning away, inch by inch embracing it.