Photo: Getty
  /  09.03.2022

Serena Williams’ reign over the tennis court has come to an end. The legendary athlete played what is likely her final professional match Friday (Sept. 2) against Australia’s Ajla Tomljanović in the U.S. Open.

Williams battled her opponent for three intense rounds before losing 6-1. Overcome with emotion, the tennis phenom looked out into the crowd during her post-match interview at Arthur Ashe Stadium, where she thanked her family for supporting her career through the years. 

“I thank everyone that’s here, that’s been on my side so many years, decades. Oh, my gosh, literally decades. But it all started with my parents. And they deserve everything. So I’m really grateful for them,” she said.

She was moved to tears as she gave a special shoutout to her equally phenomenal sister, Venus Williams. “I wouldn’t be Serena if there wasn’t Venus, so thank you, Venus. She’s the only reason that Serena Williams ever existed,” said the younger of the two world-class athletes. 

Throughout her 27-year career, Williams won 23 Grand Slams, seven Australian Open victories, seven Wimbledon titles, the U.S. Open tournament six times, and the French Open three times. By all accounts, she is easily considered the GOAT.

Last month, she shared that it was time she began “evolving” away from tennis. In interviews since the announcement, she has skirted around declaring her departure a retirement. “Clearly I’m still capable. It takes a lot more than that. I’m ready to, like, be a mom, explore a different version of Serena. Technically in the world, I’m still super young, so I want to have a little bit of a life while I’m still walking,” she said. Fans of the sports icon flooded social media with posts thanking Williams as an incomparable era of tennis came to an end. Check out some of the tributes below.

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