On Friday, Tennis star Serena Williams lost to Ajla Tomljanović of Australia in three sets, putting an end to what could be her last run in the U.S. Open. Williams reached the third round after defeating Danka Kovinić in straight sets during the first round and upsetting the second-ranked Anett Kontaveit during the second.
“It’s been a fun ride. It’s been the most incredible ride and journey I’ve ever been on in my life,” a tearful Williams said after her third-round defeat. “I’m just so grateful to every single person that’s ever said ‘Go Serena’ in their life and I’m just so grateful because it got me here.”
Williams won the tiebreak to win the second set, but only won one game in the third. Since the loss, Williams has posted a photo on Instagram of herself tucked underneath a “Moana” blanket, the caption saying “How was your weekend? This was mine.”
In all three matches, Williams scored more aces than her opponents. She executed nine on Kovinić and 11 on Kontaveit. In her final match, Williams served 11 aces with Tomljanovic only hitting three.
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Celebrities like Gladys Knight and fellow Compton native Anthony Anderson attended the matches. Golf icon Tiger Woods was also among the attendees. Fans rocked Arthur Ashe Stadium with boisterous cheers, leaving the announcers begging for their silence.
After her first-round win, Williams watched a video of her highlights with Oprah expressing her gratitude for a successful career. The crowd executed a card stunt that said “I love Serena.” Several athletes have shown their appreciation for Williams’ achievements.
“Congratulations to you to an unbelievable career. You’re a G.O.A.T.,” LeBron James said in a video on Twitter. “It’s been an honor to watch your journey, to watch you conquer all the goals that you ever set out.”
Last Thursday, Williams partnered with her sister Venus to compete in Women’s doubles. They lost to the Czech players Linda Nosková and Lucie Hradecká in straight sets. Williams and Venus won their first 14 Grand Slam doubles titles and has never lost in a Finals match, they’re the only doubles team to have completed the feat.
“I wouldn’t be Serena if there wasn’t Venus,” Williams said. “She’s the only reason Serena Williams ever existed.”
The Williams sisters won their first U.S. Open women’s doubles title in 1999 after defeating Chand Rubin and Sandrine Testud. They would win again in 2009 after defeating Cara Black and Liezel Huber. Williams also won a U.S. Open title in mixed doubles with Max Mirnyi in 1998.
Williams won 108 matches at the U.S. Open, she won six U.S. Open championships. In her career, she won four Olympic gold medals and 23 Grand Slam titles.