NEW YORK : Leave it to Serena Williams that she doesn’t want to go quietly, doesn’t want this match, this trip to the US Open, her illustrious career that really, really ended.
Barring a change of heart, the final minutes of her quarter-century excellence on the tennis court, and her reluctance to be told what was not possible, Williams tried to make one last classic comeback, earning one last vintage. Victory, in a full Arthur Ashe Stadium with fans at their feet, cellphone cameras ready.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion lost five match points to extend the proceedings to more than three hours, but could not do more, and was knocked out 7-5, 6-7 in the third round from the US Open by Ajla Tomljanovic. 4), 6-1 on Friday night in what is expected to be his final competition.
Williams said, “I’ve been down before. … I really don’t give up.” “In my career, I’ve never given up. In matches, I don’t give up. Definitely wasn’t giving up tonight.”
She turns 41 this month and recently told the world she’s ready to “grow” away from her playing days — she expressed a distaste for the word “retirement” — and she’s been deliberately vague when Whether this appearance at Flushing Meadows would certainly represent his last storm, everyone assumed it would.
It’s been the most incredible ride and the journey I’ve ever had in my life,” Williams said, tears rolling down her cheeks soon after one final shot landed in the net. “I’m so grateful to every single person who’s ever said that. , ‘Go, Serena!’ in their lives.”
Asked during an on-court interview if she might reconsider walking away, Williams replied: “I don’t think so, but you never know.”
A little later, in his post-match news conference pressuring the same topic, Williams joked, “I’ve always loved Australia,” the country that hosts the next Grand Slam tournament in January.
With two wins in singles this week, including world No. 2 player, Annette Kontaveit, on Wednesday, Williams took her fans on a one-minute throwback trip to the hard-court tournament that was the site of half a dozen of her championships.
The first came to New York in 1999 when Williams was a teenager. She is now married and a mother; Their daughter Olympia turned 5 on Thursday.
“Clearly, I’m still capable. … (but) I’m ready to be a mom, find a different version of Serena,” she said. “Technically, in the world, I’m still super young, so I want to live a little bit of life while still moving.”
With 23,859 of her close friends cheering again on Friday, Williams stumbled against 29-year-old Australian Tomljanovic, who is in 46th place.
Williams took the lead in every set, including the final, in which she led 1–0 before losing the last six games.
Tomljanovic is no doubt a fan of Williams, who grew up watching his plays on TV.
Tomljanovic said, “I’m really sorry, just because I love Serena as much as you guys do. And what she’s done for me, for the game of tennis, is incredible.” major. “It’s a surreal moment for me.”
Then, laughing, Tomljanovic said: “I thought she’d beat me. … She’s Serena. That’s who she is: she’s the greatest ever. Period.”
Asked what she planned to do on Saturday, the first day of the rest of her life, Williams said she would rest up, spend time with Olympia, and then added: “I’m definitely going to be karaoke-ing. ”
Her performance with her racket on Friday showed patience and some great performances, but it just wasn’t perfect.
At one point in the second set, Williams got her legs tangled and she fell on the court, dropping the racket. She finished with 51 unforced errors, 21 more than Tomljanovic.
Williams took a 5-3 lead in the first set. He did something similar in second, giving up 4-0 and 5-2 sides, and in the end, needed five set points to pocket. From a 4-all in the tiebreaker, meaning Williams was three points away from defeat, she ran 117 mph, hit the forehand winner to cap the 20-stroke exchange, then pushed a forehand long to Tomljanovic. Saw giving
Momentum appeared to favor Williams. But she could not cope with the kind of never-ending defeat that she had so many times over the years.
“Oh, my god, thank you so much. You guys were amazing today. I tried,” Williams told the audience, placing her hands on her hips, showing, among others, her parents and her older sister, Venus, Before mentioning, seven-time Major Champion who is 42 years old.
Williams said, “If there wasn’t Venus, I wouldn’t be Serena. So thank you, Venus.” “She’s the only reason Serena Williams ever existed.”
They started in tennis as children in Compton, California, coached by their father Richard, who taught himself about the game after watching it on television while a player received a winner’s check. He was the central figure in the Oscar-winning film “King Richard” produced by his daughters.
The brothers and sisters lost together in the first round of doubles on Thursday night, leading to another sell-off. And on Friday, as during young Williams’ other outings this week, there can be no doubt which player the paying public took the side.
When Tomljanovic broke to go 6-5 as part of a four-game run to take the opening set, a man in his guest box applauded – and he was very much on his own.
Otherwise, people applauded when Tomljanovic committed a double-fault, which is generally considered a wrong move for the tennis crowd.
In the midst of long conversations, he started shouting loudly, raising eyebrows at him too.
When Williams flashed a shot, he offered sympathetic voices of “Awwwwww”, and when he did something he thought was extraordinary, he leaped from his seats. A routine service break was the reason for a standing ovation.
Tomljanovic wrapped a blue-and-white US Open towel over his head during the turnaround, shielding himself from noise and distractions.
“Really blocked it as much as I could. It got me internally a few times. I mean, I didn’t take it personally because I mean, I’d be too excited for Serena if I was ‘ Not playing him,’ Tomljanovic said. “But it certainly wasn’t easy.”
Williams hit a swinging backhand volley winner to take a 4-0 lead in the second set, her game improving with every passing moment, the reaction was ear-popping. Hall of Famer Billie Jean King, with a total of 39 Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles, picked up her cellphone to catch the scene.
“You’re everywhere!” Shout out to Williams’ husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian from a courtside guest box that also featured power couple Ciara and Russell Wilson.
When Williams pushed two consecutive forehand winners 5-2 in the second set, she groaned and leaned forward after each.
She could not maintain that level.
Williams in the U.S. The Open entered the third round of singles competition winning 19 consecutive times, including reaching at least the semi-finals in 11 of their most recent appearances in New York.
Talk about a full-circle moment: Her only third-round loss to date was at Flushing Meadows (she’s 42-0 in the first and second rounds), the year Williams made her tournament debut at age 16.
She would win her first major trophy 12 months later at the US Open. And now he said goodbye in the same stadium.
“It’s been a long time. I’ve been playing tennis my whole life,” Williams said Friday night, after performing one last twist-and-wave move usually reserved for victory. “It’s a little early, but I’m also happy because, I mean, it’s what I wanted, what I wanted.”