US Open: retirement time has come, Queen Serena Williams leaves her kingdom

In tears, with lip service, Serena Williams announced, after her elimination in the third round of the US Open, that she would probably not be seen again on the tennis courts, where she has built one of the most prolific careers in all sports.

At the question “will you reconsider your decision to retire?“, the 23-time Grand Slam champion replied “I don’t think so, but you never know“. The American had just lost to the Australian Ajla Tomljanovic46th in the world, 7-5, 6-7 (4/7), 6-1.

>>> Discover our special file on the career of Serena Williams

At almost 41 years old (September 26), Serena Williams announced at the beginning of August that she would soon stop competing, without saying where or when. The New York Major, where she won in 1999, at 17, the first of her 23 Grand Slam titles, seems to be the ideal way out.

“That been an amazing trip“, she launched. “Thank you dad, I know you’re watching, thank you mom (who was present in the stands), thank you to all the people who have supported me all this time, my God it’s been decades“, she shelled, before crying harder, referring to her older sister: “I wouldn’t be Serena if it wasn’t for Venus, so thank you Venus“.

I’m so sorry because I love Serena as much as you do.“, Tomljanovic launched to the public. “What she has done for me and for tennis is incredible. When I watched her play all her finals, I never thought I would have the chance to play against her in her last game, so it’s really an unreal moment for me“added the 29-year-old Australian.

Since her first professional encounter in Quebec City in 1995 (unranked, she had lost in the first round of qualifying), Serena Williams has pushed back the barriers of her sport, of which she has become the undisputed queen in 27 seasons… even if she has falls short of a small unit of the record of Grand Slam titles held by the Australian Margaret Court (24).

Four finals

After her last major title (Australia 2017) and the birth a few months later of her daughter Olympia, from her marriage to the co-founder of the social network Reddit Alexis Ohanian, she played four more finals (Wimbledon and US Open 2018, Wimbledon and US Open 2019) without managing to win his Grail.

Taking her role as a mother to heart, she gradually moved away from the circuit. In recent years, she had been playing just a few tournaments a year with the Majors as a priority, increasingly focusing on her side businesses, particularly in and around fashion, rather than tennis.

Absent from the circuit since her retirement from injury in the first round of Wimbledon 2021, she had made a surprise return this summer in the Major on grass where she was again eliminated in the first round. A few weeks later, after losing in the second round in Toronto and the first in Cincinnati, she therefore resolved to put away the rackets.

World number one for a total of 319 weeks, more than six years (she first ascended the world throne on July 8, 2002 and was last at the top of the hierarchy the week of May 8, 2017), she was only ranked 605th on the evening of her retirement.

Serena Slam

alone Martina Navratilova (332) and Steffi Graf (377) have spent more time than her at the top of the women’s tennis pyramid. Williams and Graf also co-hold the record for consecutive weeks spent as world No.1 with 186 weeks (from February 2013 to September 2016 for the American).

Between her first title in 1999 in Paris and her 73rd and last in Auckland in 2020, Serena Williams, the youngest of a family of five girls, dominated the circuit almost unchallenged. And garnered $94.8 million in tournament winnings.

A hell of a journey for the player born in Saginaw (Michigan) and who lived in her childhood in Compton, which was for a long time a violent ghetto of greater Los Angeles.

With her power and her will, she bent all her main adversaries, from her sister Venus Williams at Ashleigh Bartyvia its great rival Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki, Viktoria Azarenka, Justine Henin, Dinara Safina, Amelie Mauresmo, Kim Klijsters, Jennifer Capriati, Martina Hingis, Monica Seles or Steffi Graf.

His dominance could have been even more overwhelming had it not been for some heavy physical and health issues (including a pulmonary embolism that nearly cost him his life in 2011).

In addition to the Majors record, Serena Williams will also have missed the Grand Slam (winning the four major tournaments in the same year). She did, however, pass the “Serena Slam“, namely winning the four majors in a row but straddling two years (2002-2003 and 2014-2015).

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