The Rush: Saluting Serena Williams’ iconic presence on and off the tennis court

Serena Williams announced her plans to retire from professional tennis following the U.S. Open. In a wide-ranging essay penned for Vogue Magazine, Williams takes readers to the honest and vulnerable emotions she is experiencing as her career comes to a close. Williams reveals why she is retiring now (and it’s probably not what you’re thinking) and brings Tom Brady into the discussion. Plus, The Rush explores Serena’s greatness on and off the tennis court.

Video Transcript

SERENA WILLIAMS: I've never been the right kind of woman-- oversized and overconfident, too mean if I don't smile, too Black for my tennis whites, too motivated for motherhood. But I'm proving time and time again there's no wrong way to be a woman.

JARED QUAY: Serena Williams is truly one of a kind. The tennis superstar did a takeover of "Vogue" magazine to announce that she will be retiring following the US Open.

- No!

JARED QUAY: I know it's hard to imagine tennis without Serena or Venus for that matter.

- Doesn't feel right.

JARED QUAY: Serena turns 41 years old in September and said because she wants to have another baby she can't continue her career as a pro athlete. Honestly, it's heartbreaking to me that Serena can't really retire on her own terms because she's trying to balance life as a working mother. In her "Vogue" essay Serena wrote, 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.

Damn. No lies detected there. Serena continued her thoughts saying maybe I'd be more of a Tom Brady if I had that opportunity. Hold up. You don't need to be more Tom Brady when you're Serena Jameka Williams.

- What he said.

JARED QUAY: Serena turned pro at 14 years old. Check out some of her accomplishments on the court over the last 27 years.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Something that makes Serena so unique, though, is how she transcended the sport to become a global icon and an ace in the business world. From growing up in Compton and finding her way in a sport that's dominated by wealthy white people to becoming an advocate and uplifting others, Serena has pushed the limits of what is possible. The woman won the Australian Open while she was in her first trimester of pregnancy.

- Who does that?

JARED QUAY: Serena Williams, that's who. Then she suffered major complications with childbirth, which almost killed her and has made it to four major finals since. The woman hasn't just moved the goalposts. She's moved mountains. And at this point, I'd move mountains to be able to get a ticket to the US Open to watch Serena's quest for the record-breaking 24th grand slam singles title.

I might have to drain my daughter's college fund to afford the ticket, but my baby girl would have to understand if daddy showed her it was all to support auntie Serena, right, because in the future, who knows. Maybe I can make Serena a mentor to my daughter, and next thing you know, my daughter would be the one making hundreds of millions of dollars.