Serena Williams is going full speed ahead at the 2022 Canadian Open. Despite recent news that the tennis star would soon be stepping away from the sport, Williams has her eye on the prize.
On Monday in Toronto, the Nike athlete defeated Spain’s Nuria Párrizas Díaz in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, during the tournament’s opening round. This marked Williams’ first singles match win in 14 months.
During the match, Williams wore a black and white Nike dress, white visor, and white Nike sneakers with neon detailing. Her appearance was also a small topic of discussion as she once again wore Kinesio tape on her face.
The medical tape is popular among athletes as it provides drug-free pain relief and flexible support to help keep muscles active and recovering. In this case, Williams reportedly uses the product for sinus relief. Williams was also seen wearing special tape on her right cheek during Wimbeldon earlier this summer.
On Tuesday, Williams covered Vogue’s September issue where she announced her retirement plans in a verbal essay with the magazine.
“I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me,” she said.
The S by Serena designer also discussed the crossroads she’s felt from leaving tennis, which Williams clarifies that — despite how other athletes have framed the joys of retirement — she hasn’t been necessarily excited to step back from the sport.
“There is no happiness in this topic for me,” Williams said. “I keep saying to myself, I wish it could be easy for me, but it’s not. I’m torn: I don’t want it to be over, but at the same time I’m ready for what’s next. I don’t know how I’m going to be able to look at this magazine when it comes out, knowing that this is it, the end of a story that started in Compton, California, with a little Black girl who just wanted to play tennis.”
But it’s not over yet. Williams, who won the Canadian Open in 2001, 2011 and 2013, will face her next opponent on Wednesday in Round of 32.