Earlier this month, the 23-time Grand Slam champion penned an emotional farewell letter in Vogue, announcing she will be “evolving away” from the sport she has dominated for so long.
It seemed as though Flushing Meadows would host Williams’ curtain fall tournament, but her recent comments suggest there could still be more to come from her.
Speaking on American breakfast television show Today, Williams discussed the idea of continuing to play after her run at the US Open next month.
The next Grand Slam on the calendar after New York is the Australian Open, a tournament Williams has won seven times — more than any other women’s player in the Open Era.
While the former world number one has admitted it is unlikely she will play in Melbourne, she has refused to rule it out completely.
“You never know,” she teased. “I’ve learned in my career, never say never.”
When asked whether she believes the US Open will be her final tournament, Williams said: “I think so, but who knows?”
Williams has also introduced a new face to her coaching team ahead of Flushing Meadows.
The six-time US Open champion has started working with former doubles world number one Rennae Stubbs in what could be her last push for glory.
Serena’s pending retirement
Although the end of her time on the court is very much in sight, Williams has made it clear she does not like using the word “retirement.”
In her feature with Vogue, the 40-year-old admitted it was a hugely difficult decision to make but she was ultimately presented with a crossroads that could not be ignored — tennis or her family.
“Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair,” she said.
“If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labour of expanding our family. Maybe I’d be more of a Tom Brady if I had that opportunity.
“Don’t get me wrong: I love being a woman, and I loved every second of being pregnant with Olympia.
“I was one of those annoying women who adored being pregnant and was working until the day I had to report to the hospital — although things got super complicated on the other side.
“And I almost did do the impossible: A lot of people don’t realise that I was two months pregnant when I won the Australian Open in 2017. But I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give.”
Williams has lost both of the matches she’s played in since announcing her inevitable retirement. She said an emotional farewell to her Canadian fans earlier this month after losing to Belinda Bencic in the second round of the National Bank Open.
Williams then faced Emma Raducanu for the first time in a blockbuster clash in Cincinnati but struggled to find her form at the tournament she has won twice in the past.
The former world number one has played in just seven tournaments since January 2021 after being hampered with a series of injuries. Her absence from the court and her dip in form has resulted in her dropping out of the official WTA rankings.
Because of this, the odds are against Williams in achieving a fairytale result at the US Open, but as the queen of the court herself says, “Never say never.”