Serena Williams’ vaunted comeback at Wimbledon this week didn’t go in accordance with plan. The 23-time Grand Slam winner misplaced Tuesday in a first-round shocker to World No. 115 Concord Tan.
That beautiful early departure in London, after almost a yr of being off-court, opened the floodgates for the standard query posed to the 40-year-old celebrity: When will you retire?
Requested at a post-match press convention if she’ll ever play tennis once more professionally, Williams cryptically stated, “That’s a query I can’t reply. I don’t know . . . Who is aware of? Who is aware of the place I’ll pop up?”
The truth, really, has little to do with swatting a furry yellow ball. Williams, who Forbes estimates is worth $260 million and made $45.9 million last year in off-court revenue, is popping up in all places: in Hollywood, vogue, publishing, enterprise capital and extra. She has laid the groundwork for a post-sports profession that might rival Michael Jordan’s.
Sports activities enterprise author Andrew Petcash has even predicted Williams will become the first female billionaire athlete, due to her portfolio of endorsements and investments, together with a minority stake within the Miami Dolphins — an NFL crew valued at $3.42 billon.
“She’s not simply an endorser, she’s a mogul,” Bob Dorfman, a sports activities advertising professional with the Pinnacle company, advised The Submit. “With the big-name athletes, you’re seeing much more of them turning into enterprise individuals and enterprise homeowners and working companies — not simply pitching merchandise.”
In Williams’ case, she has already gone from the baseline to the boardroom.
In March, the four-time Olympic gold medalist unveiled Serena Ventures, her enterprise capital firm that invests in promising new startups. It has already raised greater than $111 million for 60 some firms, together with cash switch service Sendwave and on-line studying platform MasterClass.
“I’ve all the time been fascinated with expertise and I’ve all the time cherished the way it actually shapes our lives,” Williams advised the New York Occasions again then. “Once I met my husband [Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian], that was our first dialog. That’s how we met. I used to be speaking about investments.”
Williams, who wed Ohanian — who Forbes estimates is price $70 million — in 2017, additionally serves on the boards of Poshmark and SurveyMonkey.
Plus, she’s proper at residence in Hollywood.
Whereas followers didn’t watch Williams in any Grand Slam ultimate over the previous 12 months as she recovered from an damage, they did get to see her holding courtroom on the crimson carpet, together with in a rose-colored Gucci robe on the Oscars — about 25 miles away from the place she grew up in Compton, California.
Serena and Venus Williams have been producers on “King Richard,” the Finest Image nominee about their father Richard Williams. And so they had the most effective seat in the home for Will Smith (who gained Finest Actor for enjoying her dad) slapping presenter Chris Rock.
She just lately advised Insider that “King Richard” could be just the big-screen beginning, and she or he may very well be concerned in additional movies concerning the legendary careers of her and her sister, who’re solely youngsters within the film.
“ ‘King Richard’ had an ideal ending with Venus on the tennis courtroom,” she stated. “Venus goes in her course, and I am going in my course. It’s two fully totally different tales.”
“I’d suppose she would keep within the leisure subject and try to do extra with films,” Dorfman stated. “Alongside the traces of LeBron James, who has his SpringHill Firm. Steph Curry is doing the identical factor.”
Williams is means forward of James and Curry relating to vogue. She’s been making waves along with her outfits for many years — rocking eye-popping tutus and catsuits throughout matches, or couture on the Met Gala. She turned her love of garments right into a moneymaker within the 2010s with three collaborations for HSN. When one debuted at New York Trend Week in 2016, Williams sat entrance row subsequent to tennis buff Anna Wintour.
Then, in 2019, she launched a retail assortment of her personal, S by Serena, which focuses on sustainably made, budget-conscious garments. On the web site, she fashions most of the appears to be like herself. Williams additionally has a cosmetics model referred to as Aneres and her personal jewellery line.
Williams grew to become a mother in 2017, when daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian was born, and she or he’s being a father or mother has impressed her new inventive endeavors.
After the proud mother began posting Instagrams of her tot along with her doll, Qai Qai, the toy exploded on social media — the doll’s devoted account has amassed 337,000 followers — and have become the launchpad for Williams’ first kids’s ebook, “The Adventures of Qai Qai,” out Sept. 27. It’s about just a little lady who finds confidence with the assistance of a magic doll.
Together with her curiosity in kids, Dorfman stated Williams would possibly think about opening a tennis faculty for teenagers who’ve much less entry to the game. (The Venus and Serena Williams Tutorial/Tennis Academy in Los Angeles was not based by the sisters.)
All that stated, Williams has not formally retired, and her dropping match on Tuesday nonetheless marked a major enchancment from her loss because of damage on the 2021 Wimbledon. The subsequent slam, the US Open, begins Aug. 29, and Williams has not introduced if she plans to play it but. She continues to be one slam away of tying Margaret Court‘s document of 24 wins.
No matter occurs, Williams has lots to stay up for when she places down the racket.
“She’s such an enormous title, even when she’s not taking part in, she’ll nonetheless be a giant face within the sports activities world,” Dorfman stated. “Even exterior the sports activities world, she’s bought icon potential.”