A Fitting Close to Serena Williams’ Career


On September 2nd, 2022, Serena Williams walked off Arthur Ashe Stadium for the last time after her third-round loss to Ajla Tomljanovic at the US Open.  The match marked an end to the inspiration’s 27-year-long career that was filled with memorable moments for both her and her fans.  Just hearing her step onto the court as 23,000 people roared louder than ever before showed that if Serena was going out, she was going out with a bang.

Set 1 started in Serena’s favor, with her getting a 5-3 lead on the Australian.  However, Tomljanovic slowly clawed her way back in, stealing the set 7-5.  Empowered by her warrior will, Serena fired back in set 2, towering to a 4-0 start.  But just like the last set, Tomljanovic utilized a steady game of counter-punches and long rallies, edging into a tiebreak that Serena won 7 points to 4.  The final set arrived, and fans were going wild after every point Serena won.  Although she got an early break of serve, Tomlijanovic flew through the next five games. The final moments of the match were a nail-biting exchange where Serena saved 5 match points before finally falling to an unforced error.

The match was over, but its emotion wasn’t finished yet.  In tears, Serena was invited to the court’s center for her retirement interview, not knowing that we were crying with her.  During the questions, Serena was given the opportunity to look back on her career, and in doing so, she expressed her gratitude towards all who led her down this path.  She thanked her parents, Oracene Price and Richard Williams.  She thanked her fans for all the support they’d given her.  But most tear-jerkingly, she thanked her sister, stating “I wouldn’t be Serena if there wasn’t Venus.”

But while Serena was appreciating what others did for her, thousands were celebrating what she did for them.  Coco Guaff, an 18-year-old tennis phenom addressed Serena in a tweet, stating “It is because of you I believe in this dream.”  Angelique Kerber, former world #1 and 3-time major champion voiced that “It’s truly been an honour to play in the era that you’ve defined.”  Even former president Barack Obama weighed in, stating “Few athletes have inspired more people both in and beyond their sport!”  Apart from her talent and work ethic, it’s clear Serena is more than just a star player; she’s an inspiration.

Over her career, Serena has won 23 singles majors (the second most of all time) and 73 singles titles.  She has been ranked world #1 for 319 weeks and claimed 1 Olympic gold medal in singles. With her sister Venus, the two won 14 majors for doubles and three Olympic gold medals.  Serena is the oldest woman to have won a major (35 years and 4 months) and the only woman to have won 3 majors after saving match points.  But these statistics do not even begin to illustrate the utter dominance that was her career.

And though it was bittersweet to see her go, we’ll likely see more from her in the future.  Because while her career may have come to a close, her accomplishments, her story, and her legacy, will inspire fans for years to come.