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Serena Williams knew that she “just needed to stop” playing professional tennis, and she’s relishing pursuing her other passions after a lifetime of dedicating herself to the sport she dominated.

The newly turned 40-year-old opened up about her decision to “evolve” away from professional tennis in an interview with A Star Is Born actor Bradley Cooper alongside sister Venus Williams at HISTORY Talks, a live event that brings together cultural and world leaders in conversation.

Other speakers at the Washington DC event included Julia Roberts, George Clooney and wife Amal Clooney, Malala Yousafzai, and former U.S. President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush.

“I just needed to stop,” Serena told Cooper. “I always said I wanted to stop when I’m playing really good tennis and winning and beating good players. For me, it’s really about things I want to do spiritually and spending time with my daughter and family.”

Venus and Serena spoke to actor Bradley Cooper at HISTORY Talks.

Venus and Serena spoke to actor Bradley Cooper at HISTORY Talks.

Serena, who reached four Grand Slam finals after giving birth to Olympia in 2017, chased an elusive 24th Grand Slam title—a feat that would have tied the all-time record—but ultimately appeared to end her career with a third-round run at the US Open.

“As a super hands-on mom, I can’t tell you how hard it was,” she reflected. “I lost so many matches after I had Olympia because it was so hard to be on the court.

“I feel like I’ve given so much of my life to tennis, my entire life, that it’s time to do something different for me and also work on other things.”

One of those ‘other things’, apparently, has been dipping her toes into coaching… youth soccer coaching that is.


“I showed up to Olympia’s first soccer practice and she was so nervous she would NOT leave my side,” Serena recently wrote in an Instagram caption.

“They needed volunteers to be assistant coaches. So now, I am an assistant coach (when I can) and clearly I was not prepared,” she added, gesturing to her sweaty tank top. “I just went to chill and left looking like this.

“Modern day soccer mom. Maybe I’ll call up [Angel City FC].”

Both Serena and Olympia are a part of the Los Angeles-based women’s soccer team alongside Alexis Ohanian, making the five-year-old the youngest majority owner in pro sports.

Could freekicks and stepovers be in Olympia’s future instead of forehands and backhands? The world is her oyster!