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Serena Williams says she’s ‘not retired’ in cryptic return talk

Serena Williams advanced to the round of 32 with an upset win Wednesday at the U.S. Open. (Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

“I’m not retired,” Serena Williams said recently, seemingly teasing fans about a potential return to the court.

The 41-year-old tennis legend announced in August that she would “evolve away from tennis” after the US Open in September, which served as a celebration of her illustrious career.

“I have never liked the word retirement,” she told Vogue in the cover story announcing her plans.

When speaking recently at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference about her investment company Serena Ventures, Williams addressed a potential comeback to the sport.

“The chances are very high,” Williams said. “You come to my house, I’ve got a court.”

When asked about a return to tennis in a Good Morning America” interview last month, Williams said, “You never know.” She also said NFL quarterback Tom Brady had “started a really cool trend.”

Brady announced his retirement at the end of last season but later returned and is currently in his 23rd season.

While Williams won’t call herself retired, she did enter her name onto the International Tennis Integrity Agency’s Retired Players List on Sept. 6. In order to make a comeback, she would have to remove herself from that list at least six months prior to a sanctioned event.

“The players listed here have declared themselves retired from the sport and may not return to sanctioned events unless they have made themselves available for out-of-competition testing for at least six months prior to the event in question,” the ITIA website reads.

Thus, a return to the 2023 Australian Open would be out of the question. She had previously joked about a return at the year’s first major.

As Williams plays coy about her retirement, other American stars are on the rise. With the release of the new WTA rankings, teenager Coco Gauff is up to fourth in the world, while Jessica Pegula rose two places to No. 3. Both are career-highs for the players.

It’s the first time that a pair of American women have reached the top four in the WTA rankings since Serena and Venus Williams in 2010.