Serena Williams amazing career comes to an end at US Open

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Serena Williams bids farewell to the game she dominated for thus lengthy
Photograph: Getty Photos

The primary time I wrote “professionally” about Serena Williams, again when Bleacher Report was nonetheless an onslaught of slideshows, I referred to as her overrated. I used to be simply out of school, and my horrible, terrible, horrendous take was she didn’t win as a lot as she may. This was greater than a decade in the past, and it was throughout a time when Roger Federer was waltzing to Wimbledon titles.

I couldn’t perceive why the perfect participant by a large margin didn’t win each time she stepped on the court docket. Serena was in that rarified air that if she misplaced it was much less that somebody beat her, and extra that she beat herself. Her singles profession successful share is pushing .850, and we’ve seen her dominate a lot and so usually that after she despatched the U.S. Open crowd into delirium with a win over No. 2 Anett Kontaveit earlier this week, she was favored for Friday’s match in opposition to Ajla Tomljanovic.

Had I not watched Serena and Venus’ doubles loss within the first spherical Thursday night time, I’d’ve assumed that Friday was a formality. Whether or not it was Tuesday’s three-set win, or the sheer strain that comes with having all eyes and hopes in your each shot, it was evident that Serena was past exhausted even attempting to cowl her half of the court docket.

On Friday, she gave a valiant effort, taking the second set in a tiebreaker, and even then you possibly can nonetheless speak your self into Serena powering her means by the third set and onto the fourth spherical.

Alas, it was to not be, and as unhappy as it’s to see the GOAT step away from the sport, I additionally felt a way of aid for Serena. She gained her first Grand Slam in 1999, after I was 14. I’m 36 now. I can barely keep in mind a time when she wasn’t enjoying tennis, and it’s protected to imagine Serena can barely keep in mind a time when she didn’t have a racket in her hand.

Now, a woman, whom doors open for before she even thinks about stepping through them, can do whatever she wants. Any avenue she desires to explore is available. Fashion, business, broadcasting, acting, surfing, writing, equestrian-ing, disc golfing, biochemistry, more motherhood — her future is literally carte blanche.

She made Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama fan girl out, and considering the things those two Black women have accomplished, the potential reach of Serena’s post-playing career is enthralling. Her influence expanded beyond the confines of Flushing Meadows, Rolland Garros, Melbourne Park, and the All England Club years ago. No longer can she be reduced to just a professional athlete.

This is not a retirement, it’s a rite of passage to a place few of her GOAT peers can reach. Serena doesn’t simply represent what a Black woman can accomplish in tennis. She represents what a Black girl from Compton can do in life.

After the match, through tears, Williams tried to put into words the indescribable.

“It’s been a fun ride. It’s been the most incredible ride and journey I’ve ever been on.”

While her next steps might not elicit the same surge of adrenaline that came with smashing a winner up the line or hoisting a trophy, the impact she will undoubtedly have on young women of color (and in general) is sure to spark tsunamis of endorphins.

The ride isn’t over, it’s barely begun. Congrats on an amazing career, Serena. I can’t wait to see what field you dominate next.



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