Serena Williams US Open: The expected retirement of Serena Williams will have to wait. The 23-time major champion won her first-round match 6-3, 6-3 over Danka Kovinic at the US Open 2022 on Monday night.
Serena Williams said to the audience after the match, “You know, I always just got to do the best that I can,”. she added “I feel so comfortable on this court, in front of everyone here.
I just want to do my best on that specific day on the court. That’s all I can do
Since Serene Williams, 40, announced her impending plans to “progress” from tennis in a 1st-person article in Vogue earlier this month, she has been given a farewell tour of sorts where both Western & Southern Open and Canadian Open gave her standing ovations.
There was a sold-out crowd of nearly 24,000 here on Monday night, which included former President Bill Clinton, Spike Lee, Lindsey Vonn, Bella Hadid, Rebel Wilson, Vera Wang, Mike Tyson, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Gladys Knight, Martina Navratilova, and Coco Gauff — before Williams even took the court.
After a video narrated by Queen Latifah was shown summarizing her legendary career, Serena Williams was introduced to the crowd as the “Greatest Of All Time” to loud cheers that continued during any break in the action throughout the match.
“The reception was really huge,” Serena told reporters. “It was loud and I could feel it in my chest. It was a really good affection. It’s a feeling I’ll never ever forget, so I am really — yeah, that meant a lot to me.” and she smiled.
Serena Williams won her 102nd match at Arthur Ashe Stadium, the most by any player since it opened in 1997, and she now has 366 Grand Slam victories. Following the match, Williams was honored with an on-court ceremony that included Gayle King and Billie Jean King, as well as a “Thank you, Serena” video from Oprah Winfrey.
First of all, thank you. I didn’t expect any of this,” Williams told the crowd before acknowledging the fans’ support.
Gracious in defeat, Danka Kovinic said it was “maybe one opportunity in a lifetime to play against Williams, mainly in a night session match on Arthur Ashe,” and called it an “experience that I only could think of and dream of maybe in my whole career.”
After Williams’ announcement in Vogue, tickets for Monday’s night session became a hot commodity. TickPick, a secondary ticket website, reported Monday’s night session was the most expensive US Open women’s final ever.
According to TicketIQ, the average secondary market ticket price was $987 on Monday morning. During the night session, 29,402 fans were on the grounds — a record for the US Open.
Even her pre-match practice drew thousands of fans cramming in to catch a glimpse of the legend, with rows lined up to catch a glimpse through a mesh fence.
Rennae Stubbs, a former player turned coach and analyst, has been training Williams in New York this week. Stubbs told ABC prior to the match that Williams was nervous but that she was still preparing for the match and the tournament with her trademark intensity.
“The practices have been extremely difficult,” Stubbs said on Monday. “She’s worked extremely hard this week. She practiced with other players, which she had never done before.
And, you know, she’s doing everything she can to perform at her peak tonight.” Even her pre-match practice drew thousands of fans cramming in to catch a glimpse of the legend, with rows lined up to catch a glimpse through a mesh fence.
Anett Kontaveit, the No. 2 seed, will be Serena Williams’ opponent in Wednesday’s second round as well as her sister Venus, whom she called her “rock” on Monday.
Together, the two have won 14 major titles, most recently at Wimbledon in 2016. This denotes their first time playing together since the French Open in 2018. The pair is scheduled to open play against Hradecka and Noskova on Wednesday or Thursday.
Venus, 42, has not revealed any plans to resign however has played sparingly over the last year.
Serena Williams said she was eager to continue her run in singles but wasn’t focused on her next match just yet.
Honestly, everything at this point is a bonus for me,” Serena Williams said. “I mean, I think every opponent is very difficult. I saw that over the summer. The next one is even tougher.
“It’s good that I was able to get this under my belt. I don’t know, I’m just not even thinking about that. I’m just thinking about just this moment. I think it’s good for me just to live in the moment now.”
When asked if this would be her final tournament, Serena Williams replied with a knowing smile: “Yeah, I’ve been pretty fuzzy about it, right?”
And then she added: “I’m staying vague because you never know.”
About Serena Williams
Born : September 26, 1981 (age 40 years),
Grand slams won (singles): 23
Spouse : Alexis Ohanian (m. 2017)
Education: The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Isenberg School of Management, UMass Amherst
Siblings: Venus Williams, Yetunde Price, Richard Williams III, Lynda Price, Isha Price, Ronner Williams