“I’m from Compton, California you know, and I made it”. Serena Williams, you certainly did. One of the greatest – if not the greatest – woman to ever grace us all with her presence on a tennis court.
Serena Williams has played her last competitive match, having announced in a beautifully written piece in Vogue that the 2022 US Open would be her last tournament. 23 years after she won her first grand slam, it was fitting she bowed out of the sport on the same court where her domination began. Williams’ first grand slam victory was in 1999 and she went on to win 5 further US Open titles, as well as an incredible total of 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the third most on the all-time list.
The tennis superstar made it to the third round of this year’s tournament before being defeated by Ajla Tomljanović 7-6, 6-7, 6-1, in what will be remembered as an iconic moment in sporting history.
Serena wore a stunning black frock with mesh detailing and a pleated skort inspired by her admiration of figure skating dresses. The layered skirt initially had six layers to represent her six titles but was reduced to two as it was too heavy for her whilst playing. The crystal-encrusted bodice glittered as she played under the lights in New York, fittingly representing her glittering career which inspired so many.
The lucky spectators who managed to be in the crowd made their voices heard, cheering her on, roaring at every point. The tennis match was the most watched in ESPN’s history, and indicates the importance and respect the world has for the champion.
The high emotion of the night was shown as Serena had tears rolling down her face by the final point, feeling the immense appreciation from the crowd which sent shivers down the spines of the commentators.
Following her first-round victory in the US Open, Williams reflected on her road to success which started in her hometown of Compton, southern Los Angeles, USA. Serena and her sister Venus were promising talents from a young age, and they were coached by their father on their local concrete tennis courts.
The duo took the tennis world by storm when they emerged onto the professional scene as just teenagers. They went on to dominate the game, managing to change the face and perception of the predominantly white sport.
In her post-match interview Serena thanked her parents and her sister, as well as the fans that have supported her and been with her every step of the way. Serena Williams is “evolving away from tennis” to focus on her family and her exciting new business ventures.
Serena you will be missed on the court but undoubtedly your legacy will continue for years to come. You have inspired so many and have shaped the sport for what it is today. Thank you, Serena.
Image: Wikimedia Commons