Historically reticent when it comes to retirement talk, Venus Williams finally opened up about when she might call it a career.
Appearing on the Hallmark Channel’s “Home & Family,” Williams said she hopes to play long enough for another opportunity at gold: “I’m kind of targeting the next Olympics [Tokyo 2020], and that’s in, what, three-and-a-half years … and I’m not counting!”
Williams, 36, finished this season ranked No. 17 and won one title, in Taiwan. She played surprisingly well at the majors, highlighted by a run to the semifinals at Wimbledon and the fourth round of the US Open.
Despite a lackluster fall, Williams was steadfast in her belief that she can still compete on tour. After a heartbreaking, third-set tiebreaker loss to Karolina Pliskova in New York, Williams spoke of the positives she took from the season.
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” she told the press. “I definitely have the will, so I think I will keep finding the way. I feel like I’m going to get more [wins] as the future goes on.”
Five years ago, Williams was diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that causes debilitating joint pain, swelling and numbness. She saw her year-end ranking plummet to No. 103, and Williams was more or less an afterthought on tour.
Still, she refuted any retirement rhetoric and began to play regularly — with encouraging results. A year ago, she won three titles, her most in a season since her halcyon days in 2008. Williams is a seven-time Grand Slam champion, and her 49 career titles rank ninth all time.
If she does indeed compete on tour until the 2020 Games, she will be 40 years old. She is a four-time Olympic gold medalist (one singles and three doubles with sister Serena). This season, after falling in the first round in singles and doubles in Rio, Williams teamed with Rajeem Ram to win a silver medal in mixed doubles.