Federer has been hearing retirement questions since he finally won the French Open in 2009, completing his set of singles titles at each of the four Grand Slam events at age 27. Venus Williams, who went through a midcareer dip partially linked to an autoimmune disorder, has been hearing them for over a decade, as well.
“When it’s my last, I’ll let you know,” she said at Wimbledon last year.
Here she is, back for more, just like her kid sister, although perhaps even the Williamses don’t know how much more. Navratilova does not recommend giving too much advance notice. When she announced that 1994 would be her last season, she regretted it.
“If I had to do it over again, I would definitely not say anything, because it was exhausting; it was much more emotionally draining than it would have been otherwise,” she said. “For your own good, forget whatever it may do for or against your brand. I wouldn’t announce it until that’s it.”
And it was not it. She came back and ended up winning the U.S. Open mixed doubles title with Bob Bryan in her real last tour-level match at age 49, one of tennis’s better final acts.
“My thing is, if you enjoy playing and really get something out of it still, then play,” Navratilova said. “Venus has been playing and people say she’s hurting her legacy. No, those titles are still there.”