Venus post raises speculation about tennis future

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An Instagram post by Venus Williams reflecting on the 28th anniversary of her professional tennis debut raised speculation that her legendary career could be nearing an end.

“On this day 28 years ago I made my debut to professional tennis,” Williams wrote in the caption alongside two photos of her as a 14-year-old at the 1994 Bank of the West Classic, the site of her first WTA match. “I never imagined 28 years later what [Serena Williams] and I would experience in this sport. I can recount the wins and the losses, but in the end it was always about the pursuit of my best self. Every day, win lose or draw. I can look back with no regrets. It’s all been worth it.”

Her post Wednesday night was met with praise from several of her peers, including Coco Gauff and Reilly Opelka.

“Queen,” commented Gauff, who has long credited Venus and Serena for her start in the sport.

Williams last played at the US Open in September; she lost in the first round in singles and then paired with Serena for the doubles competition as a wild-card entry. The sisters lost 6-7 (5-7), 4-6 to the Czech duo of Lucie Hradecka and Linda Noskova in the first round.

While Serena in August had announced her plans to “evolve” away from tennis to focus on off-the-court interests and ventures — and was given a star-studded farewell at the US Open — the elder Williams sister publicly revealed no such plans.

“Right now I’m just focused on the doubles,” Williams told reporters following her first-round singles match at Flushing Meadows when asked about her future in the sport.

Venus Williams, 42, is a former world No. 1 and has won seven Grand Slam singles titles to go along with 16 major doubles titles (14 in women’s doubles, two in mixed doubles). She has earned five Olympic medals throughout her career, tying her for the most in the sport’s history at the Games.

She played in just five events during the 2022 season, including a mixed doubles-only appearance at Wimbledon, and was 0-4 in singles play.

Williams would need a wild card in order to play the Australian Open, the year’s first major, which begins Jan. 16.

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