Serena Williams’ inspirational run through the US Open came to an end on Friday night with a third-round loss to Australian Ajla Tomljanović, likely putting the curtain on the all-time great’s storied career.
Tomljanović, the world champion of the tournament Number 46 ranked player, won the match 7-5, 6-7, 6-1 at 10:22 PM at Arthur Ashe Stadium, on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
If Williams’ career in singles is over, her last win will have been in Wednesday night’s second-round action when she beat the tournament. No. 2 seed Anett Kontavei, 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-2.
She and sister Venus Williams were eliminated in doubles on Thursday.
Three weeks ago, 40-year-old Williams announced that she would “evolve away from tennis” after the US Open and nearly a quarter of a century of dominance.
And if this does indeed mean the retirement of tennis for Williams, she will leave the court with a trophy cabinet filled with 23 major singles titles: six US Open victories, six Australian Open titles, three French Open victories and eight Wimbledon championships.
Williams probably said goodbye to the great competitive tennis on the same court where she first became aware of her impending greatness.
While very few opponents beat Williams, the iconic player said maternity and age were unbeatable rivals that factored into her decision to hang it.
“It gets to a point where sometimes women have to make different choices than men if they want to start a family,” Williams told Time magazine, in an interview posted hours before she appeared in court on Monday. “It’s just black and white. You make a choice or you don’t.”
Williams said her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., was overjoyed when she learned her mother was leaving the game.
“That makes me sad,” Williams told Time. “And brings fear into my heart.”
“It’s hard to commit completely,” she continued, “when you say flesh and blood, Aw.”
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