Hockey great Wayne Gretzky pays tribute to retiring Serena Williams

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Hockey great Wayne Gretzky pays tribute to retiring Serena Williams

Canadian hockey legend Wayne Gretzky congratulated Serena Williams on a "wonderful career" and praised the 23-time Grand Slam champion for having a "spectacular impact" on kids throughout the world. This week, Williams revealed her plans to walk away from professional tennis after this year's Us Open.

“Serena Williams, Willie O’Ree in hockey, Jackie Robinson in baseball,” Gretzky told The New York Times. “They changed everything. They changed the culture of sports, and what Serena did for boys and girls throughout the world is spectacular.

Serena, congratulations on a wonderful career”.

Williams 'evolving away from tennis'

In her piece for Vogue, Williams didn't really want to use the term "retirement." Instead, Williams said she is "evolving away from tennis." In her retirement, Williams plans to focus on her family and business.

"I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I’ve been thinking of this as a transition, but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people.

Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me. A few years ago I quietly started Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm.

Soon after that, I started a family. I want to grow that family," Williams wrote for Vogue. This week, Williams clinched her first win of the season after beating Nuria Parrizas-Diaz in the Toronto first round. After beating Parrizas-Diaz, Williams stumbled upon former top-5 player Belinda Bencic.

Williams competed well against Bencic but the Swiss escaped with a routine 6-2 6-4 victory. Now, Williams switches her focus onto next week's WTA 1000 event in Cincinnati. After Cincinnati, Williams will go to New York to say goodbye to tennis.

Serena Williams