The Serena Williams era has come to an end – at least for now.
The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion played Friday at the US Open in what is expected to be her last professional tennis match. She lost in the third round against Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-1 in a tense affair. Williams held off five match points before eventually losing and getting a fitting ovation from the crowd at the end
In August, Williams announced in a first-person essay for Vogue magazine that her tennis career was coming to an end, saying the US Open would likely be her last tournament this year. In the piece, she spoke of her desire to grow her family as a reason for her “evolutionWilliams was visibly emotional during her post-match interview.
“It was a fun ride,” Williams said. “It was the most incredible ride and journey I’ve ever taken.”
When asked if she would reconsider her “evolution,” Williams replied, “I don’t think so, but you never know.”
If Friday’s game was indeed Williams’ last game, she will end her tennis career as one of the greatest players of all time. Her aforementioned 23 Grand Slam titles are the most of any Open era player (since 1968) and she follows only Margaret Court (24) most of the time. Williams’ dominance on the court has inspired the next generation of stars in women’s tennis, including 18-year-old phenomenon Coco Gauff.
With Williams’ likely last game on the books, several players congratulated her on a surefire Hall of Fame career.
Her incredible career has left its mark on tennis history.
And yet, perhaps her greatest contributions are yet to come.
Thank you, @Serena Williams.
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) September 3, 2022
Serena, THANK YOU. Because of you I believe in this dream. The impact you’ve had on me is beyond words that can be put together and for that I say thank you, thank you, thank you, GOAT! pic.twitter.com/qeNZlC05WJ
— Coco Gauff (@CocoGauff) September 3, 2022
I don’t think anyone has enough words #ThankYouSerena
— Samantha 黛莲 Crawford (@samcrawford18) September 3, 2022
— Alize Cornet (@alizecornet) September 3, 2022
— Nadia Podoroska (@nadiapodoroska) September 3, 2022
— Lisa Raymond (@lisaraymond73) September 3, 2022
— Vicky Duval (@vicky_duval95) September 3, 2022
I love you @Serena Williams It has been the pleasure of a lifetime to watch you become what you have. I can’t wait to see what you do next. Thank you my old friend
— andyroddick (@andyroddick) September 3, 2022
It was an honor to watch Serena play as a child, play on the same Fed Cup team as a 17-year-old, compete against her on the biggest stage in our sport (and take Beyoncé and Jay-Z to watching me), and as I do, finishing her career years after mine. pic.twitter.com/4qoPKSnUBn
— Vania King (@queen_v21) September 3, 2022
to celebrate @Serena Williams
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) September 3, 2022
thanks, @Serena Williams
— Roland Garros (@rolandgarros) September 3, 2022
A player like no other, a career like no other, a story like no other.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) September 3, 2022
Thank you! #serena 🐐🐐🐐
— Patrick Mahomes II (@PatrickMahomes) September 3, 2022
Congratulations on a great career, @Serena Williams!
How lucky we were to watch a young girl from Compton grow up to be one of the greatest athletes of all time.
I’m proud of you, my friend, and I can’t wait to see the lives you keep changing with your talents. pic.twitter.com/VWONEMAwz3
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) September 3, 2022
.@Serena Williams you are literally the best on and off the pitch. Thank you for inspiring all of us to chase our dreams. I love you little sister!!!!!!
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) September 3, 2022
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 3, 2022
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) September 3, 2022
— Yes Morant (@JaMorant) September 3, 2022
Congratulations, Serena for an inspiring career! Cookie and I are so happy for you. I remember we talked about becoming an entrepreneur. Now looking forward to seeing you grow in business! @Serena Williams #serena
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) September 3, 2022
It was a joy to watch greatness! Congratulations Serena!
— Derek Jeter (@derekjeter) September 3, 2022
— Allyson Felix (@allysonfelix) September 3, 2022
— Breanna Stewart (@breannastewart) September 3, 2022
I have to yell in my crib LOUD for Serena!!!!!! I’m sick now🤧
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) September 3, 2022
— Chris Paul (@CP3) September 3, 2022
HIGH KEY HOPE THIS IS NOT THE LAST SERENA MATCH I EVER SEE AGAIN!!!! WE LOVE YOUR QUEEN #GOAT
— Jarvis Juice Landry (@God_Son80) September 3, 2022
Much respect for Serena the GOAT! Fought with a lot of heart. Something to be proud of!!! Enjoy retirement Champion
— Calais Campbell (@CalaisCampbell) September 3, 2022
Serena fights to the last point, always. You have given so much to tennis and so much to women’s sports. Thank you @Serena Williams
— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) September 3, 2022
Thank you @Serena Williams!! You made me jump off my couch and “Come on!!” too many to count!! Grace, courage, balance, strength.. you have it all woman!! Thank you for always being YOU!!
— Becky Hammon (@BeckyHammon) September 3, 2022
— Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) September 3, 2022
Thank you, Serena!
— Seattle Storm (@seattlestorm) September 3, 2022
The biggest it’s ever done.
— ESPN (@espn) September 3, 2022