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Saturday, February 4, 2023

Tennis stars honours Serena’s legacy

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New York: Serena Williams, the most dominant women’s tennis player of the Open Era, bid farewell to the sport on an emotional Friday night at the 2022 US Open, falling to Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round.

In her likely farewell to professional tennis, Serena battled Tomljanovic for three sets and more than three hours on a historic Friday night at the US Open. After saving five match points, Williams ultimately bowed out in Arthur Ashe Stadium as her Australian opponent earned a 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-1 victory.

Twenty-three-time Grand Slam singles champion not only has the respect and admiration of tennis fans around the world, but also her fellow players competing at the year’s final Grand Slam in New York. At the 2022 US Open, stars of both the ATP and WTA Tours shared their thoughts on the tennis great, who announced her plans to “evolve away” from the sport following the event.

Poland’s world no 1 Iga Swiatek said: For sure, it was like the most popular first round of a Slam ever. Yeah, it’s just amazing. It shows how much she has changed our sport and how much she has done. I’m pretty happy that she can experience something like that. I also feel that not every player would handle that kind of fuss around your first match of the tournament. She’s handling it pretty well, as usual. So that’s just confirmation of how great she is. And the outfit is also pretty cool. She’s just a G.O.A.T.”

Rafael Nadal: “I spoke plenty of times about Serena, how important she was or she is for our sport. I think she, as an athlete, has been not just a tennis player, but she has been one of the most important athletes in the history of the sport. So from the tennis perspective, it’s a big loss that she is leaving. But on the other hand, she deserves all the things that she achieved because she worked enough to make that happen for such a long time, with a lot of determination, dedication, discipline. If not, all of this is impossible.

“So now is the moment that she deserves to choose whatever she wants to do. Yeah, I just believe and hope that if she is able to stay around the sport in some way, it’s going to be great for our sport because I always believe that the sports are bigger when the legends of our sport are around the sport, no? And she’s a legend. In some way, I hope she will continue being involved in the world of tennis.”

America’s teen sensation Coco Gauff said: I think it’s hard to dominate for generations. She showed that, and that’s why, for me, she’s always going to be considered the G.O.A.T. She didn’t dominate for one generation. She didn’t dominate for two generations. She dominated for three-plus generations. I don’t think anybody else did that. That’s why it’s sad to see her leave, but also at the same time, she’s going to do completely a bunch of amazing things off the court. She’s in the fashion world. I saw her model, walk the runway of a show. We’re going to see a lot of Serena later on.

Serena’s sister Venus Williams: “She’s doing it the way she wants to. That’s what matters most is to do things on her own terms. Obviously, my hope is that there is more ahead for her at this tournament.

In the September issue of Vogue, Williams announced that she was preparing to wrap up her tennis career, evolving, not retiring, into the next chapter of her life. It was fitting that the American, whose impact stretches far beyond the lines of a tennis court, would play her last match here in Flushing Meadows, where she first broke through as a teen in 1999, and where she captured a tournament co-record six trophies.

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