Serena Williams’ legendary career came to an end Friday night after she lost her third-round match against Alja Tomljanovic in three sets. What does a legendary career look like? In Serena’s case, it looks like 23 grand slams, seven Australian Opens, seven Wimbledons, six U.S. Opens, and three French opens. Her case for the greatest Women’s tennis player of all time has already been made, and to some, her case for the greatest athlete of all time has been made as well.
In her tearful closing speech, she spoke lightly about her relationship with her sister Venus, with whom she was eliminated following the U.S. Open doubles to Lucie Hradecka and Linda Noskova. “I wouldn’t be Serena if there wasn’t Venus, so thank you, Venus. She’s the only reason that Serena Williams ever existed,” Williams said. In her official retirement announcement on Instagram, Williams said, “That time is always hard when you love something so much. My goodness do I enjoy tennis. But now, the countdown has begun. I have to focus on being a mom, my spiritual goals, and finally discovering a different, but just exciting Serena. I’m gonna relish these next few weeks.”
In her Vogue article, she spoke about her feelings on retirement and said, “I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I’ve been thinking of this as a transition, but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people. Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis toward other things that are important to me.”
In celebration of her illustrious career, NIKE has put together a short film named “By Changing Nothing, She Changed Everything” to celebrate her legacy and retirement, narrated by the one and only Emmy award-winning actress and producer Zendaya. In a statement about the short film, NIKE said, “Serena Williams redefined what it means to be a true champion. Her legacy transcends sport and has inspired generations. We look forward to continuing our long-standing partnership with her. And, we thank her for all she has done and will do in the future. Here’s to never changing who you are.”
Photo Credit: NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 2: Serena Williams of USA salutes the fans after her last career match, losing to Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia in 3 sets during day 5 of the US Open 2022, 4th Grand Slam event of the season at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 2, 2022 in Queens, New York City. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)