Serena Williams’ legendary tennis career probably came to an end after she lost to Australia’s Ajra Tomljanovic in the third round of the US Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, New York.
The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion has left an indelible mark on all sports, not just tennis.
After winning over three hours 7-5 6-7(4) 6-1, Tomljanovic advances to the last 16 of the US Open for the first time.
In an on-court interview with ESPN after the game, Williams was asked if he would reconsider his development away from tennis.
“I don’t think so, but you never know,” she said.
In a happy, tearful interview, she thanked her parents and said she was so grateful to them for starting it all.
And she credited her older sister, Venus Williams.
“Without Venus, I wouldn’t be Serena,” she said. “She’s the only reason Serena Williams ever existed.”
“I love Serena just like you guys,” said Tomljanovic, who said he felt sorry for her.
“It’s amazing what she’s done for me, for the sport of tennis,” she said in an on-court interview. This is a surreal moment for me because I never thought I’d have the chance to face her in her last match when I was younger.”
Tomljanovic was asked how he handled the opportunity to be in this exciting environment at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“I thought she would beat me,” said Tomljanović. “The pressure wasn’t on me. She’s Serena. I don’t think I knew until the end that even though we lost 5-1, she was in a really good position to win. I don’t know how many match points it took to finish it, but that’s her, she’s the best ever.”
After an unlikely second-round win over Annette Kontavate, Serena Williams, 40, put together a surprise performance at the US Open perhaps better than anyone else.
“I’m just Serena,” she said bluntly. This quote will undoubtedly go down as one of the most memorable quotes in sports.
The ability to find different gears and dig deeper into the toughest moments has provided the foundation for more than two decades of sustained success in Williams’ Tour.
She showed the same tenacity and tenacity on Friday that 46th-ranked Tomljanovic is at the top.
“I’ve been down before,” Williams told reporters after the game.
Williams, arguably the greatest women’s tennis player of all time, fought for five match points before her shot into the net ended the match.
“I tried,” Williams said. ‘Ajra’s playing just a little bit better’
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A crowd of 23,859 inside Arthur Ashe Stadium on the night session looked to give Williams another victory, but the winner of 847 career matches and 73 titles was second best on the night.
Given that Williams is on track for the US Open, it was reasonable to assume that Williams’ opener against Danka Kovinic would be little more than an emotional farewell to tennis. For a 23-time Grand Slam champion.
But Williams, who is “just Serena,” put on her best tennis of the season to outlast Kovinic and extend her final dance in New York by a few days.
Next came Kontaveit, the No. 2 player in the world and one of the toughest players on the tour. The Estonian offered a much tougher test than Kovinic, and Williams definitely came into the match as a pretty underdog.
Indeed, after two glorious years at the top, will Williams’ career end here? Of course not. She is, after all, “just Serena.”
With a three-set win over Kontavate, Williams took her tennis to a level many thought she might never reach again. She seems to be back with her much-feared accuracy and power on her serve, as well as her speed on the court.
Tomljanovic has a career-high ranking of No. 38 this season and has notable success in 2022, including a quarter-final at Wimbledon and the recent Cincinnati Open.
Her unforced error on Friday was 30 to Williams’ 51, so it was steady.
She will face Russia’s Lyudmila Samsonova in the round of 16.