The champion with 23 Grand Slam titles could not contain her emotion after her defeat at the US Open, this Friday, September 2. An elimination synonymous with retirement for her, ended with a poignant farewell speech.
“There is a time in life when you have to decide to take a new route,” said Serena Williams in the columns of the magazine vogue, last August. Wishing to retire to devote herself fully to her family, the American athlete had been playing her last US Open since August 29, a tournament she has already won six times.
This Friday, September 2, at the end of the third round of the competition, the one considered to be the greatest tennis player lost to the Croatian player Ajla Tomljanović. The opportunity to hang up his racket. It was therefore in the process that Serena Williams said goodbye to tennis on the Arthur-Ashe court in New York, thanking her family and in particular her sister, Venus Williams, her eyes filled with tears.
Rivals and partners
“I wouldn’t be Serena if it wasn’t for Venus, so thank you Venus,” she said, looking at her sister, seated in the stands and struggling to hide her emotion. And to add: “She is the only reason why Serena Williams has ever existed”. Raised and coached by their father Richard Williams, at the center of the film The Williams Method, winner of the 2022 Oscars, Serena and Venus will often have opposed each other on the court. Sometimes rivals (they have faced each other almost 31 times), sometimes partners, their unwavering complicity has raised them to the top of the women’s circuit. If Serena Williams has become the world number one, she has always cited the name of her big sister as her greatest reference.
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Tribute to father
During her farewell speech, the American champion with 23 Grand Slam titles also wanted to thank her father, her mother, as well as all the people who accompanied her throughout her career.. “Thank you dad. I know you are watching. Thanks Mom. I thank all those who are here, who have been by my side for so many years and decades,” she added, in tears. And to continue: “It was a fun ride. The most amazing trip I’ve ever been on, I mean, in my life. I’m so grateful to every single person in their lives who’s said, “Come on, Serena,” to me. I am so grateful”.
The stars also wanted to have a few words for the one who made them dream for 27 years. Basketball player LeBron James, four-time NBA champion shared a video to salute his colleague’s journey. “It has been an honor to follow your journey. I just want to thank you for being this inspiration to so many people,” he said.
Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the United States also said, “Congratulations on your incredible career, Serena Williams! How lucky we were to watch a young girl from Compton grow into one of the greatest sportswomen of all time. I am proud of you, my friend, and I look forward to seeing the lives you will continue to transform with your talents.”