The term retirement is not in Serena Williams’ dictionary. “It’s not a modern word,” reflected the 40-year-old American tennis player, winner of 23 Grand Slams, who announced on Tuesday that she would hang up the racket in a few weeks. After winning everything in her sport, the most successful tennis player of the Open era assumes that the time has come for her to retire from sports, but that does not mean that she plans to lie down on the sofa and live off the income. As she herself highlighted in her statement, published in the magazine VogueHer goal now is to expand her family to give her four-year-old daughter Olympia a brother or sister and focus on her business facet, in which she has proven to be as voracious as on the slopes.

Since lifting the US Open at the age of 17 in 1999, her first major, the youngest of five brothers raised in the Compton neighborhood of Los Angeles, has risen as an icon of her sport and as one of the most influential people in the United States. . Her unparalleled successes in tennis have made Williams the highest-earning female athlete in history. During most of her career, she was the highest paid in the world, until recent years in which her participation in her tournaments has become testimonial. According to the magazine Forbes, Serena Williams has a fortune of 260 million dollars (almost 255 million euros), which makes her the richest female athlete of all time. Of this amount, 94.5 million belong to her earnings on the WTA circuit, being her the tennis player who has earned the most money in history ahead of her sister Venus de ella, who registers almost half of her ( 42.3 million).

Sportingly, Serena Williams is one of the greatest figures of all time, the tennis player with the second most Grand Slams in history, only behind Margaret Court, who won 24 majors before the Open era. Taking advantage of the showcase that tennis has given her, Williams has built a business empire to which she will dedicate herself entirely once she retires from the WTA circuit, after the US Open that begins on August 29.

Many athletes, especially the big stars, have businesses outside their discipline that often bring them greater benefits than success in competitions. Sponsorships are still a very important part of athletes’ income, but athletes are increasingly looking for ways to diversify. Cristiano Ronaldo owns a hotel chain and a hair transplant company; Tiger Woods founded an audiovisual production company for sports content; Lewis Hamilton promotes a project to manufacture electric racing cars… Like these great champions, Williams has plunged headlong into the business world and currently has three main paths of development: fashion, audiovisual production and investment in entrepreneurship.

Williams’ passion for tennis is matched only by her interest in the world of sewing. After several collaborations with Nike, the tennis player launched her own line of women’s clothing in 2018 with the name S by Serena. On your sales page on-line, the prices of his designs range from 30 euros to 250 euros. The following year, he expanded his offer and launched a line of jewelry, also under the same name. “Some criticized my decision, but I knew I had two passions, tennis and fashion, and I had to find a way to make them coexist,” Williams explained then.

Serena Williams with her daughter Olympia in her arms after her S by Selena line show at New York Fashion WeekOhanian Jr. after showing her clothing line during last year.
Serena Williams with her daughter Olympia in her arms after her S by Selena line show at New York Fashion WeekOhanian Jr. after showing her clothing line during last year.Seth Wenig (AP)

Turned into a celebrity, her life has been taken to the big screen. In 2018 she released the biographical documentary of her titled Being Serena, which was awarded at the PGA Awards. This last year he made the leap to Hollywood and produced with his sister Venus the film the williams method, starring Will Smith, who gave life to the father of the two tennis players. “The way Will plays my father just takes the movie to another level,” Serena said at the film’s premiere. The Academy of the Oscars had the same opinion, which awarded Smith the award for best leading actor in the last edition, which ended with controversy due to the interpreter’s aggression against the gala presenter.

But, without a doubt, the most ambitious project that the winner of 23 Grand Slams has in hand right now is her investment fund for entrepreneurs called Serena Ventures, founded in 2014. Her husband, the creator of the Reddit portal, Alexis Ohanian, convinced her that if she created her own investment fund, she could support those projects in which she was most involved and boost the community of women and African-Americans in United States. “I want to be in the infrastructure. I want to be the brand, instead of just being the face, ”she said in an interview with Forbes. In March of this year, she raised $110 million as seed funding for Serena Ventures, which currently finances more than 60 companies, most of which are run by women or black people.

Serena Williams will leave the racket in the coming weeks and will put on the business suit, surely designed by herself. But the greatest tennis player of the 21st century will not just disappear, but as she herself says, she is preparing to evolve.

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By Chavez

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