AP PHOTOS: Serena Williams, the athlete and cultural icon

August 29, 2022 GMT
FILE - Serena Williams waves as she leaves the court after losing to France's Harmony Tan in a first round women's singles match on day two of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Serena Williams says she is ready to step away from tennis after winning 23 Grand Slam titles, turning her focus to having another child and her business interests. “I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give,” Williams wrote in an essay released Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, by Vogue magazine.(AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
FILE - Serena Williams waves as she leaves the court after losing to France's Harmony Tan in a first round women's singles match on day two of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Serena Williams says she is ready to step away from tennis after winning 23 Grand Slam titles, turning her focus to having another child and her business interests. “I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give,” Williams wrote in an essay released Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, by Vogue magazine.(AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
FILE - Serena Williams waves as she leaves the court after losing to France's Harmony Tan in a first round women's singles match on day two of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Serena Williams says she is ready to step away from tennis after winning 23 Grand Slam titles, turning her focus to having another child and her business interests. “I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give,” Williams wrote in an essay released Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, by Vogue magazine.(AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
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FILE - Serena Williams waves as she leaves the court after losing to France's Harmony Tan in a first round women's singles match on day two of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Serena Williams says she is ready to step away from tennis after winning 23 Grand Slam titles, turning her focus to having another child and her business interests. “I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give,” Williams wrote in an essay released Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, by Vogue magazine.(AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
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FILE - Serena Williams waves as she leaves the court after losing to France's Harmony Tan in a first round women's singles match on day two of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Serena Williams says she is ready to step away from tennis after winning 23 Grand Slam titles, turning her focus to having another child and her business interests. “I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give,” Williams wrote in an essay released Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, by Vogue magazine.(AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

After winning 23 Grand Slam titles, Serena Williams begins what might be her final tournament Monday at the U.S. Open.

The 40-year-old announced this month that she plans to turn her focus toward having another child and her business interests as she readies to step away from tennis.

Her final singles match could be Monday against unseeded Danka Kovinic. Win, and Williams is likely to face No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in the second round. She’s also particpating in the doubles tournament with sister Venus Williams.

Williams, one of the most accomplished athletes in the history of her — or any other — sport, has seven titles apiece at Wimbledon and the Australian Open, six U.S. Open wins, plus three at the French Open, across a career remarkable for its peaks and its longevity. She also owns 14 Grand Slam doubles championships, all won with her older sister, Venus.

She has done plenty outside of tennis, too.

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That includes forays into business with investment firm Serena Ventures and entertainment via past acting roles and executive produced “King Richard,” the film about her father that was nominated for five Academy Awards. She launched a fashion collection in 2018 after collaborations with HSN and Nike, made multiple appearances on the red carpet at the annual Met Gala in New York and appeared on the cover of Vogue magazine.

All the while, Williams hasn’t let the public forget that she’s a Black American woman who embraces her responsibility as a beacon for her people.

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