"It's been a fun ride" - Serena Williams tennis career likely over after bowing out of 2022 U.S. Open to Ajla Tomljanović 

The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion and four-time Olympic champion has indicated this could be the end of her storied career after announcing she was "evolving away from tennis"

By Olympics.com writer. Created 2 September 2022.
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

Just like so many times before, tennis great Serena Williams gave it everything she had Friday night (2 September) during her third round match against Australian Ajla Tomljanović at the U.S. Open in New York.

But on this night, in front of a boisterous crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium, it wasn't enough.

Tomljanović prevailed 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-1 in what could very well be Williams’ final competitive singles match.

“Thank you daddy. I know you’re watching. Thanks mom,” Williams said as the tears flowed on-court after the defeat.

“Thank you to everyone who has been on my side for decades. It all started with my parents and they deserve everything.

“Thank you Venus, she’s the only reason that Serena Williams existed. It's been a fun ride. It's been the most incredible ride and journey I've ever been on.

"I'm ready to be a mom and explore a different version of Serena. Technically in the world I'm still super young so I want to have a little bit of a life while I'm still walking".

Tomljanovic was a fan of Williams growing up and spoke like one after seeing off her idol in a marathon that lasted 3 hours, 5 minutes.

"I'm feeling really sorry because I love Serena just as much as you guys do", Tomljaonvic said.

"What she's done for me, for the sport of tennis is incredible, and I never thought that I'd have a chance to play her in her last match when I remember watching her as a kid in all those finals. This is a surreal moment for me".

Williams, a four-time Olympic gold medallist, announced earlier this month that her time in the sport was coming to an end.

She and older sister Venus were knocked out in the first round of the doubles competition on Thursday.

"There comes a time in life when we have to decide to move in a different direction. That time is always hard when you love something so much," she said on Instagram. "My goodness do I enjoy tennis. But now, the countdown has begun."

Though the 23-time Grand Slam champion did not give a definitive end point, her post and subsequent interview with Vogue magazine have caused many to speculate Friday's match could be her finale.

"I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me," said Williams in Vogue.

Williams is widely considered the greatest female tennis player of all time. Her impressive resume includes 319 weeks as the world’s No. 1 player, and her 23 Grand Slam victories, including six U.S. Open titles, is the most of any player – male or female – in the Open Era and just one shy of Margaret Court’s 24 wins, the all-time record.

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