Twenty-three-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams’ farewell tour has come to an end in the third round of the US Open.
Williams lost 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-1 in what was her longest match ever at the tournament. In August, she had announced her plan to “evolve” away from tennis following the final major of the year, citing her desire to spend time with her family. During an emotional postmatch interview on Friday, Williams thanked her loved ones and supporters for what she called an “incredible ride.”
Since making her professional debut in 1995, Williams has won 73 singles titles, 14 Grand Slam doubles titles alongside older sister Venus Williams, four Olympic gold medals and $94 million in prize money.
In the September 2022 edition of Vogue magazine, Williams opened up about her career, motherhood and evolving away from tennis.
“It’s the hardest thing that I could ever imagine,” Williams said. “I don’t want it to be over, but at the same time I’m ready for what’s next.”
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With her farewell tour most likely complete, here is a rundown of Williams’ final tournaments.
US Open 2022
On Aug. 25, the US Open officially announced that Williams would play in her final tournament there, which began on Aug. 29 in New York. Williams is a six-time champion at the event, and reached the semifinals in 2020.
Serena Williams will play on Monday.
Rafael Nadal will play on Tuesday.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 25, 2022
Following her farewell announcement on Aug. 9, the demand for tickets skyrocketed. Approximately 13,000 US Open tickets were sold on that one day, tournament organizers told ABC News.
Serena won her first-round match against Montenegro’s Danka Kovinić in convincing fashion 6-3, 6-3. The crowd supported Williams throughout the match and she noted their efforts during the postmatch interview.
“I feel so comfortable on this court, in front of everyone here … It’s a feeling I’ll never forget, so I really — yeah, that meant a lot to me,” Williams said.
In the second round, No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit gave Serena all she could handle. After Williams won the first set in a tiebreak 7-6 (4), Kontaveit dominated the second, winning it 6-2. After a trip to the locker room in between sets, Williams pulled off the upset with a 6-2 win in the third set. The stars were out to watch Serena work, as Tiger Woods, Zendaya, Anna Witour and more packed the stands to witness greatness.
— ESPN (@espn) September 1, 2022
Serena took the court with her sister Venus for a rare primetime doubles session on Thursday at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The Williams sisters gave a great effort but lost to the Czech Republic’s Lucie Hradecka and Linda Noskova 7-6 (5), 6-4. In what could be their last match as teammates, Venus and Serena received a standing ovation from the crowd postmatch.
— ESPN (@espn) September 2, 2022
After the match on Friday, the New York audience showered Williams with cheers and applause — a fitting end to a magical run at the US Open and possibly a legendary career.
Serena Williams’ incredible US Open run comes to an end in the third round as she falls to Ajla Tomljanovic in the third set.
Western & Southern Open 2022
The second stop on her tour was a short one.
In the opening round, Williams fell to the reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu, losing 6-4, 6-0 in the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
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“We all should honor Serena and her amazing career,” Raducanu said after the match. “I’m so grateful for the experience to have been able to play her and for our careers to have crossed over. Everything she’s achieved is so inspirational. It was a true honor to share the court with her.”
Canadian Open 2022
Williams was eliminated in the second round by Belinda Bencic after a 6-2, 6-4 defeat in her final match on Canadian soil.
An emotional Williams embraced the raucous Toronto crowd as the fans showered her with applause after her loss.
“I’m terrible at goodbyes. But goodbye, Toronto,” Williams said in an on-court interview after the match. “It’s been a joy playing in front of you guys for all these years.”