Serena Williams is retiring from tennis as one of the best players to have ever graced the court after 27 years on the professional tour, 23 grand slam singles titles, and a host of records.
At this year’s US Open, the American gave an emotional farewell to the sport that she helped define over the previous 20 years after falling to Ajla Tomljanovic. Given her high standards, it wasn’t the happily ever after she would have undoubtedly desired, but the response from the crowd inside Arthur Ashe Stadium was another evidence of how significant Williams has been to the game.
At the US Open this week, players and spectators have shared personal anecdotes about how her life has shaped their own, and their admiration has been shown through banners in the stands and messages on social media.
The 40-year-old retires having amassed an incredible 39 grand slam titles including 23 singles titles, 14 doubles titles, and two mixed doubles titles. Williams does fall short of Margaret Court of Australia’s all-time record for singles grand slam titles, but she claims she has no trouble accepting that fact.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that record. Obviously, I do,” Williams wrote when she revealed her forthcoming retirement in Vogue. “Shoulda, woulda, coulda. I didn’t show up the way I should have or could have. But I showed up 23 times, and that’s fine. Actually, it’s extraordinary.”
After falling to Ajla Tomljanovic in the US Open, Serena Williams bids an emotional farewell to the crowd. Serena Williams along with her sister Venus, have made a lasting impact on tennis by encouraging a generation of young people to pick up a racket.
The two have influenced Hollywood, particularly the movie “King Richard,” which highlighted the family’s commitment to producing two of the best players to ever tread on a court.
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The film centers on their father Richard Williams who worked hard to prepare them for competition on Compton, Los Angeles’s dilapidated public courts in the 1990s. It was a tutelage that served as the starting point for both of their professional lives and provided hope to people from all areas of life.
In assessing Serena Williams’ effect prior to the US Open, four-time grand slam champion Naomi Osaka said, “I think that her [Williams’] legacy is really extensive to the point that you can’t even describe it in words.”
She changed the sport so much. She’s introduced people that have never heard of tennis into the sport. “I think I’m a product of what she’s done. I wouldn’t be here without Serena, Venus, her whole family. I’m, like, very thankful to her.”
Williams made her professional debut in 1995, however she was just 14 years old when she lost to Annie Miller. Though she made great progress and didn’t have to wait long for recognition, she won her maiden grand slam singles victory at the US Open in 1999. She would go on to win the prize five more times as she traveled the globe, delighting tens of thousands of admirers each time.
She amassed a total of seven singles victories at Wimbledon, three at the French Open, and seven at the Australian Open, making her arguably the sport’s most well-known figure worldwide.
Williams defeated countless tennis players over the years with her frequently unbeatable strength and mental toughness. She was unbeatable at her best; only she could triumph over herself.
In 1999, Serena Williams defeated Martina Hingis to win the US Open. Some of the top figures in sports have been praising Williams for her performance at the US Open. LeBron James, a four-time NBA champion, praised Williams’ accomplishments in a video on Twitter after Friday’s loss.
“Wow, where do I start?” he said. “First of all, I’ll start off by saying congratulations to you, to an unbelievable career. You’re a GOAT. What you’ve done for the sport of tennis, what you’ve done for women and what you’ve done for the category of sport, period, is unprecedented.” It’s been an honor to watch your journey, to watch you conquer all the goals you ever set out, to see you break records, to see you be amazing and transcendent not only on the tennis court, but also off.
It’s been an honor to watch your journey, to watch you conquer all the goals you ever set out, to see you break records, to see you be amazing and transcendent not only on the tennis court, but also off.
I literally can sit here and talk about your journey and just talk about watching you from afar and talk about our relationship now for an hour, but I don’t want to bore you too much about stuff you already know. So I just want to say thank you for being this inspiration for so many.
15-time golf major winner Tiger Woods said: “You’re literally the greatest on and off the court. Thank you for inspiring all of us to pursue our dreams. I love you little sis!!!!!!”
A Resilient Career
The grand slam champion who was a constant favorite had to take on a new role as she neared the end of her career, one that she was less accustomed to. Williams had taken a hiatus after the birth of her daughter and has not been the same irascible player since.
Of course the heart was there, and there were more than enough magical moments to convince you that a 24th grand slam was feasible, but in the end the challenge was too big.
However, it’s quite amazing that Williams was still competing on the court after what turned out to be a potentially fatal delivery.
Olympia was delivered by emergency C-section, and while the procedure went without a hitch, Williams experienced problems afterward. “It began with a pulmonary embolism, which is a condition in which one or more arteries in the lungs becomes blocked by a blood clot,” she wrote for CNN.
“Because of my medical history with this problem, I live in fear of this situation. So, when I fell short of breath, I didn’t wait a second to alert the nurses.”
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“This sparked a slew of health complications that I am lucky to have survived. First my C-section wound popped open due to the intense coughing I endured as a result of the embolism.”
“I returned to surgery, where the doctors found a large hematoma, a swelling of clotted blood, in my abdomen. And then I returned to the operating room for a procedure that prevents clots from traveling to my lungs.”
And then I returned to the operating room for a procedure that prevents clots from traveling to my lungs.
Williams has become a global fan favorite.
Takeover by Commercial Enterprises
It is a tale of tenacity and a portrait of her professional life. Williams has consistently found a way to keep performing, playing despite numerous injuries and postpartum depression. She will be remembered for much more than just her tennis accomplishments and endorsement deals because of this.
Williams has dedicated her entire life to her career; in the end, this is what made her one of the finest and most recognizable athletes in history. However, she is now prepared to “evolution” away from sports. Williams received over $94 million in prize money, but she also made an estimated $340 million from sponsorships, and it’s unlikely that her sponsorship deals will stop very soon, according to Reuters.
Now that she is retired, she will have more time to explore entrepreneurial endeavors, and she wants to continue serving as a charity ambassador. Williams will surely succeed in her career after tennis, but the game will suffer without her on the tour.
“I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst. But please know that I am more grateful for you than I can ever express in words,” she wrote in her Vogue article. “You have carried me to so many wins and so many trophies. I’m going to miss that version of me, that girl who played tennis. And I’m going to miss you.”
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