Serena Williams said she is “staying vague” over her expected retirement from tennis after reaching the US Open second round on Monday.
“I have been pretty vague about it, right? I’m going to stay vague because you never know,” said the 40-year-old after beating Danka Kovinic 6-3, 6-3.
Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam title winner, said earlier this month that she was “evolving away” from tennis and that “the countdown” was on for her retirement after 27 years as a professional.
Before Monday, the former world number one had won just one match on tour all year and seen her ranking slip to 605.
That kind of form prompted her to reveal that she was on the brink of retirement and hinting that this US Open would be her farewell.
However, the guessing game over her concrete plans for the future continued Monday with mixed messages delivered on court and then in her post-match news conference.
“It was such a hard decision,” Williams told her on-court interviewer when asked about her original announcement revealed in a essay for Vogue magazine.
“I think when you are passionate about something it is always hard to walk away,” she said.
“I have been trying to decide what to do. I love this game.
She added: “I think now’s the time. I have a family and there’s other chapters in life. I call it evolution.”
“It’s like Serena 2.0. I will still be crazy, I’ll still be intense. I’ll still be around. But I look forward to waking up and not having to run onto a tennis court.”