Serena Williams, the powerhouse tennis player, world record holder, mom and wife who is undoubtedly one of the greatest athletes of all time, has announced her retirement from the game of tennis—but don’t worry, it’s not any time soon.
Speaking on a panel with CEO of Verizon Media Guru Gowrappan and CNBC correspondent Julia Boorstin in honor of Advertising Week New York, the now 38-year-old 23-time Grand Slam winner revealed that she expects to retire from the sport in 20 years.
Yes, you read that right, 20 years! So she’ll be 58 still playing the game of tennis.
To put this into perspective, the oldest Grand Slam champion was Ken Roswell at 35 years old.
During the panel Williams mentioned that she intends to “transfer out, you know, in 20 years. Not anytime soon,” which was met by a round of applause.
Williams has spoken candidly about how difficult it’s been to get back into the swing of things (pun intended) since welcoming her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., on September 1, 2017. In August, she sustained a back injury that forced her to withdraw from the Rogers Cup. During that time, she penned a powerful essay about her 2018 U.S. Open finals loss.
The tennis icon started her career at just 14 years old when she won her first match at a Grand Slam in 1998. If she sticks to her 20 more years promise, she will have had a 42-year run.
At 11 years old, when Serena Williams was asked “If you were a tennis player who would you want to be like?” Serena responded: “Well, I’d like other people to be like me.”
Bold for it coming from an 11 year old, huh? Well, in order to be champion, you’ve got to be bold.
That’s the legacy of Serena Williams starting to take shape. In many people’s opinion, it’s their mental strength that helped propel them into stardom. Their father, Richard Williams, constantly spoke them up to in front of others as well as at home. He always spoke to them as champions, even before their first tournament. But by age 11, Serena’s sister Venus was already a champion, and Serena herself had won 50 of 52 junior championships.
It was the mental wear and tear that prompted Richard to pull his daughters out of competition early on when the family moved to…
… Florida. “These girls aren’t ready, mentally or physically. It’s too hard on the family,” Richard said. “Bringing the girls out later in their life will be better for our family, for the girls and for tennis.”
“Venus wants to win Wimbledon and Serena wants to win the U.S. Open,” Richard said. “And they will.”
So what’s next for the tennis great? Well, the sky’s the limit, but Williams seems to getting more into investing.
Serena Williams’ Serena Ventures investment firm, launched less than two years ago, has invested in more than 30 companies, including Neighborhood Goods, MasterClass, Coinbase, Daily Harvest, Lola and the infant stroller-maker Colugo.
“Colugo is all about design,” she offered during a session at Advertising Week NYC on Tuesday, with CNBC correspondent Julia Boorstin and Verizon CEO Guru Gowrappan.