Serena Williams may have just played the final match of her tennis career and you might want to grab some tissues.
Following her loss against Australia's Ajla Tomljanović in the US Open, the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion shed “happy tears” while talking about her family in her postmatch interview on September 2. “Thank you, Daddy. I know you're watching,” she said of her father, Richard Williams, according to People. “Thanks, Mom. Oh my God.”
“I thank everyone that's here, that's been on my side so many years, decades. Oh, my gosh, literally decades,” she continued through tears. “But it all started with my parents. And they deserve everything. So I'm really grateful for them.”
But it was her statements about her older sister, seven-time Grand Slam singles champion Venus Williams, that will really make you emotional. “I wouldn't be Serena if there wasn't Venus, so thank you, Venus,” Serena said. “She's the only reason that Serena Williams ever existed.”
After thanking her husband, Alexis Ohanian, Serena had some final words for her fans after 27 years as a professional tennis player. “It's been a fun ride. It's been the most incredible ride and journey I've ever been on, I mean, in my life,” Serena said. “I'm just so grateful to every single person that's ever said, ‘Go, Serena,’ in their life. I'm just so grateful. You got me here.”
Serena Williams recently revealed her intentions to retire from tennis in Vogue's September issue, though she preferred to call it an “evolution.”
“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 labor of expanding our family,” she said. “Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family.” Serena and Alexis have a five-year-old daughter, Olympia, who is hoping to be a big sister.
Later in the emotional as-told-to interview, Serena admitted she was hoping to win 30 Grand Slams before stepping back, but is still proud of her “extraordinary” accomplishments (as she should be). “I had my chances after coming back from giving birth. I went from a C-section to a second pulmonary embolism to a Grand Slam final. I played while breastfeeding. I played through postpartum depression,” she continued. “I didn’t show up the way I should have or could have. But I showed up 23 times, and that’s fine. Actually it’s extraordinary. But these days, if I have to choose between building my tennis résumé and building my family, I choose the latter.”
Still, never say never. When asked during a postmatch interview if she would consider returning, she replied, “I don’t think so, but you never know. I don’t know.”
“Clearly I’m still capable. It takes a lot more than that,” she continued, per Sports Illustrated. “I’m ready to, like, be a mom, explore a different version of Serena. Technically, in the world, I’m still super young, so I want to have a little bit of a life while I’m still walking.”
Originally Appeared on Glamour