Icon, legend and GOAT Serena Williams has entered her final match as a professional tennis player after losing in the third round at the US Open.
Australia’s Ajra Tomljanovic defeated Williams in a thrilling 7-5 6-7 (7-4) 6-1 win at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Friday night. The three-hour match ended in a heated tiebreaker in the second set, followed by a wild and long comeback before Tomljanovic finally closed out the match in the third set. the entire convention.
Williams got emotional on her way off the court — she exclaimed, “I cried tears of joy,” during her final interview, thanking her parents and sister Venus.
“Thank you very much. You guys were great today. I wish we could have played a little better. Thank you dad. I know you’re watching. Thank you mom,” Williams said on the court. “I just want to thank everyone who has been by my side over the years and decades.
“Those are tears of joy! I don’t know. Without Venus, I wouldn’t be Serena. Thank you Venus.”
After dropping a close first set, Williams looked poised to win the third set with a 4-0 lead in the second. Still, Tomljanovic, who closed out the first set with a four-game winning streak, held on strongly to take the tiebreaker. She almost won too, but Williams won her 7-4 to extend the match.
Williams jumped up 1-0 at the break in the final set, but quickly dropped the next two sets and looked exhausted after being on court for over two and a half hours. Tomljanovic rolled from there, seemingly with the entire stadium against her, but she took the final set and advanced to the fourth round, ending Williams’ career at the same time.
“I love Serena as much as you guys and I’m so sorry for what she did for me,” Tomljanovic said. “Tennis is an incredible sport.” said. said after winning“When I remember seeing her in the finals as a kid, I never thought I would have the chance to face her in her final match. This is a surreal moment for me.” ”
As for Williams’ future plans, she hasn’t quite closed the door to playing again.
“I don’t think so, but you never know,” she said when asked if she would return.
Williams more than this one loss
A loss like this is not how Williams wanted her career to end, but this is not what she will be remembered for. You can not.
Williams first picked up a tennis racket when she was three years old (she says she was 18 months old), and in some ways her fate was sealed there. As her sister to Williams, who is also a tennis legend, Venus, she has watched Venus play, succeed, and fail.
Venus was the first to step into the limelight, but Serena followed closely behind. Did. She won her 2002 French Open, 2002 Wimbledon title, 2002 US Open and 2003 Australian Open. In each of those finals, she had to beat her own sister to win the trophy.Williams won Serena her slam again from 2014 to her 2015.
Although she didn’t complete the Calendar Slam (winning all four majors in the same year), she achieved the Career Golden Slam (winning all four majors and an Olympic gold medal) in both singles and doubles. Became the first tennis player in history. Williams is so dominant in singles that her doubles career, in which she played alongside Venus, is often forgotten. As a doubles team, they remain undefeated in Grand Slam finals, winning 14 and she has lost none.
In total, Williams spent 319 weeks as the WTA’s top tennis player. Only Steffi her Graf and Martina Navratilova spent more time at the top than she did. Although she often chose to focus on Grand Slams instead of playing extensively on her WTA Tour, she still won her 73 singles titles, ranking fifth in women’s tennis history. I’m here. She has won her 23 Grand Slam titles. This is the most in the Open Era and her one all-time record second only to Margaret her coat.
Breaking boundaries led to support and criticism
Williams was good, but she was so much more than that, making headlines and grabbing attention in ways that transcended tennis and track and field in general. She was bold and daring and didn’t care about the norms of female tennis players. She wore bright colors, catsuits and tutus, and outfits that no one had ever seen on a tennis court. She refused to hide her hard-working muscles and flaunted her body with pride. She became a fashion icon, appearing solo on the cover of Vogue and appearing in multiple She designed a clothing line and became a Sports Illustrated swimwear model.
At the same time, few athletes have inspired such passion from the public, both in support and opposition to her. She was criticized for her hair and tennis attire. It was criticized for being too noisy. She was criticized for bringing race into tennis. Like, for example, at the 2018 U.S. Open Women’s, when she got into a lengthy on-court argument with the umpire, after which he was accused of being selfish and too belligerent. The final against Naomi Osaka, whom she kept losing.
But that example also has a racist twist. After that match, Australian newspapers ran racist caricatures of Williams, using racial stereotypes to portray her as overly muscular and animalistic with an ape-like face and huge lips. While some of Williams’ criticism was fair and justified, some of the criticism, both inside and outside of tennis, was against white women in the sport. It all started with being a black woman who dared to challenge the norms of
Williams’ legacy is immense
Williams has been so good for so long that in the last few years she has competed with players who started playing tennis after seeing her play. They’re of the Serena generation, they play their own way and their own style, but they’re a part of Williams every time they play.
That’s why her legacy will only grow. The Serena Generation is not static. Because her sporting history continues to influence young girls and women around the world, whether they play tennis or not. Williams-inspired women will inspire their generation and carry her into the future long after she quits competing. Players can now run. And Gauff is running so others in the future can fly.
Williams was dominant for a long time and in individual sports mental preparation and performance were just as important as physical. It’s Woods. Both challenged white norms and primarily white history in sports. Williams will only retire one major title by the time he equals his 24 Grand Slam titles at Margaret Court, and Woods continues to hold his three major titles behind Jack Nicklaus.
But if inadequacy doesn’t define Woods’ legacy, it certainly doesn’t define Williams’s. You have accomplished what no one predicted or expected. For example, no one could have imagined that, even after more than a decade of excellence, she would have won (or could have won) the 2017 Australian Open while she was eight weeks pregnant. She then developed a pulmonary embolism in an emergency caesarean section and was bedridden for six weeks before she missed her yearlong competition. I didn’t really expect her to come out of there with the same strength and drive that she had before, but she did it anyway and came back in 2018, reaching the finals at four Grand Slams, The other two advanced to the semi-finals.
Now that she’s done (almost) everything she ever wanted to do in tennis, she’s moving on. For her to focus on her venture capital firm, to expand her family, and to do whatever she wants. she earned it.
There is no one like Serena Williams and there will never be another like her. She didn’t just change the sport of tennis. she changed the world.