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How athletes are redefining retirement

Serena Williams of the United States warms up before her match during the Western & Southern Open on August 16, 2022, at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, OH. (Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

After 23 Grand Slam singles and 27 years on tour, Serena Williams says this U.S. Open will be her last.

Williams says she’s “evolving away from tennis.”

But what does that mean for athletes who have dedicated their lives to pursuing greatness in a sport?

“Many of them start participating in their sports when they’re very young. So we can think five, six, seven years old,” sports psychologist Kensa Gunter says.

“By the time they may enter retirement for some in their twenties or some in their thirties, it’s almost as if they’ve had a lifetime that has really revolved around their participation in the sport.”

Today, On Point: How athletes are redefining retirement.


William C. Rhoden, writer-at-large for Andscape, a sports and pop culture website dedicated to creating, highlighting and uplifting the diverse stories of Black identity. Author of Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete. (@WCRhoden)

Kensa Gunter, clinical and sport psychologist. Director of NBA/WNBA Mind Health. (@DrKensa)

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Andscape: “Serena Williams is set to redefine ‘retirement’” — “I was at a function recently when somebody I’d lost touch with asked if I had retired. The question, rather the R-word, was like an arrow in my heart.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.