Tom Brady may not be the only legendary athlete who only steps away from the game only temporarily this year.
While much of the coverage of the 2022 U.S. Open—at least when it came to the women's singles draw—focused on how it was Serena Williams' final tournament of her illustrious career, she suggested she may follow in Brady's footsteps during an appearance on Good Morning America.
"I mean, you never know," she said when discussing a possible return to tennis (h/t ESPN). "I've just been saying that I think Tom Brady started a really cool trend."
Brady's future was one of the biggest storylines of the entire NFL during the past offseason as he retired and then unretired a mere six weeks later. He also stepped away from Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp for 11 days and agreed to a 10-year, $375 million deal with Fox to eventually contribute to the network's NFL coverage.
That's quite the retirement plan, although he is back under center for a 23rd season and led the Buccaneers to a Week 1 win over the Dallas Cowboys.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the 2022 campaign is "expected" to be the all-time great's last year in the league.
As for Williams, she wrote in Vogue that she was "evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me" in August, adding "it's the hardest thing that I could ever imagine."
She notably didn't use the word "retirement," although the implication was fairly clear when there was a post-victory ceremony honoring her career and the impact she has made on so many after she defeated Danka Kovinić in the opening round of the U.S. Open.
Billie Jean King spoke, Oprah Winfrey narrated a video montage and the entire thing, along with a raucous crowd that packed the stadium every time she took the court, felt like a retirement celebration.
Yet Williams impressed in New York, not only defeating Kovinić but also handling second-seeded Anett Kontaveit in the second round and taking Ajla Tomljanovic the full three sets in the third despite playing just four matches since July 2021 ahead of the year's final major.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion, who has 73 career singles titles, looked like she could play at an elevated level even at 40 years old with a more consistent schedule.
While that may not happen at this point, her schedule may include some more tennis tournaments in the future.