Since Serena Williams announced in August that she plans to retire after this 12 months’s U.S. Open, all eyes have been on her and what has changed into her farewell tour. But what’s next for Venus Williams is unclear.
Venus Williams, who at 42 is about 15 months older than Serena Williams, has been vague about her plans for her future. Before this 12 months’s U.S. Open, which she was in a position to enter after receiving wild cards for each the singles and the doubles draw, it had been a while since Venus Williams had played in a Grand Slam.
After losing within the second round of Wimbledon to Ons Jabeur of Tunisia last 12 months, Williams played one match within the WTA’s Chicago Women’s Open in August 2021, losing in the primary round, after which left tennis for nearly a 12 months.
She returned to the game last month, and struggled in three tournaments, losing in the primary rounds of the Citi Open in Washington, the National Bank Open in Toronto, and the Western & Southern Open in Mason, Ohio.
“It was definitely the longest time I even have been away from tennis and been with no racket in my hand,” she said after she lost to Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium in straight sets in the primary round of the singles draw on Tuesday. “It was a totally latest experience for me, getting a racket back in my hand and attempting to acclimate as quick as possible to be ready for the U.S. Open, which was difficult.”
Williams last played in a Grand Slam final on the Australian Open in 2017, where she lost to her sister, and last won a Grand Slam title in 2008 at Wimbledon, where she beat her sister. Her time away from tennis and the winner’s stage has left Williams ranked at No. 1,504 on this planet. In 2002, she was ranked No. 1 in singles. Her low rating implies that to proceed to play in tournaments, Williams might want to rely heavily on wild cards.
At her postmatch news conference on Tuesday, Williams was asked about whether she also had any plans to retire like her sister.
“Immediately I’m just focused on the doubles,” she said.
When the Williams sisters walked off the court in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Thursday night after losing their first-round doubles match to Lucie Hradecka and Linda Noskova of the Czech Republic, it might have been the last time the sisters left a court together. Or was it?
The sisters didn’t have a postmatch news conference, but when asked on Tuesday what keeps her motivated, Williams was short and quick to answer.
“Three letters is W-I-N,” she said. “That’s it. Quite simple.”
Since Serena Williams announced in a Vogue cover story that she planned to evolve “away from tennis, toward other things which are essential,” she has sprinkled some uncertainty about her own retirement plans.
“I’ve been pretty vague about it, right?” Serena Williams said, smiling after her first-round win against Danka Kovinic. “I’m going to remain vague since you never know.”