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Williams waves farewell after US Open loss

todaySeptember 2, 2022 10

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Serena Williams waves farewell to the US Open crowd after losing to Ajla Tomljanovic
Serena Williams has won 23 Grand Slams singles titles, the second most in tennis history
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 29 August-11 September
Coverage: Daily radio commentaries across BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app, with selected live text commentaries and match reports on the website and app

Serena Williams waved farewell to the US Open – and her illustrious career – amid emotional scenes after she lost to Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic on a compelling night in New York.

Williams, who turns 41 this month, is set to retire after the tournament.

It will end a 27-year professional career that brought 23 major singles wins and sees the American widely labelled as the greatest of all time.

Williams fought back from a set down but ended up losing 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-1.

The former long-time world number one saved five match points in what proved to be the final game but was powerless to stop a sixth.

Almost everyone who could rose to their feet when she departed the court on Arthur Ashe Stadium – the scene of her first major triumph in 1999 and five more of the finest wins of her storied career – for what she expects to be the final time.

As she waved goodbye and gave a signature twirl, Tina Turner’s pop classic ‘Simply The Best’ boomed out over the sound system.

Asked if she would reconsider retiring after her performances this week, Williams said: “I’m literally playing my way into this and getting better. I should have started sooner this year. I don’t think so, but you never know.”

Williams had tears streaming down her face when she was interviewed in the middle of the court, thanking her family, team, the crowd and her fans across the world for their support over the years.

“I thank everyone that’s here, that’s been on my side so many years, decades. Oh my gosh, literally decades,” said Williams, who played her first professional tournament as a 14-year-old in 1995.

“But it all started with my parents. And they deserve everything. So I’m really grateful for them.

“And I wouldn’t be Serena if there wasn’t [sister] Venus, so thank you, Venus. She’s the only reason that Serena Williams ever existed.”

Tomljanovic, who moves into the fourth round and plays Russia’s Liudmila Samsonova, stepped to the side and applauded her opponent as she took the microphone.

The world number 46 produced a phenomenal performance to block out the noise and sense of occasion, illustrated by her clinical hitting in the final stages of a brutal contest which lasted three hours and five minutes.

More to follow.

Serena Williams - 73 singles titles, four Olympic gold, 319 weeks at world number one, 39 Grand Slam titlesAround the BBC - Sounds

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