The legendary career of Serena Williams came to an end on Friday night at the U.S. Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium after losing 7-5. 6-7(4), 6-1 to Alja Tomljanovic in the third round of the tournament. The 23-time Grand Slam champion was very emotional after the loss when she said "Thank you daddy, I know you're watching. Thanks mom, Everyone that's here, that's been on my side, for so many years, decades.”
"These are happy tears, I guess. I don't know. And I wouldn't be Serena if there wasn't Venus, so thank you Venus. She's the only reason Serena Williams ever existed ... It's been a fun ride. It's been the most incredible ride and journey I've ever been on." Williams has left an indelible mark on the sport of tennis and sports in general. She won her first ever Grand Slam title in 1999 at just 18 after playing on the pro circuit since she was 14 years of age.
When she won her first Grand Slam it made her the first African-American to ever accomplish such a feat. Williams has 14 doubles titles as well to her name 4 Olympic Gold Medals, 73 singles titles, 858 tour victories, and 319 consecutive weeks at No.1. She has the most Grand Slam titles of anyone (men or women) in the Open Era.
Her father, Richard, helped carve her and her sister Venus into tennis prodigies from a young age to make them the unstoppable forces that they would become on the court. Williams transcended the sport by inspiring generations of stars that would come after her from Naomi Osaka, Coco Gauff, Taylor Townsend, and numerous others whether colored or not that gained interest in pursuing tennis due to the sisters' influence on the sport.
The amount of ridicule Williams had to go through throughout her career and the perseverance she displayed are unparalleled. She and her sister helped pave the way for many minorities that would come after them. Williams finished with the second most Grand Slam titles (23) amongst women behind Margaret Court (24) for the most ever.
She also holds her own records of most hard court major titles (13), and Grand Slam victories (367).
From becoming a fashion icon to winning a Grand Slam while pregnant! Williams has done it all and then some in the sport of tennis, forever etching her name among the greatest woman to ever play from Court to Steffi Graf to Billie Jean King. Whether you think Serena is the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) is a matter of opinion, but one thing we know for sure is that Williams leaves behind a legacy as a ruthless cutthroat competitor, unlike anything we’ve seen in sports perhaps aside from very few other athletes such as Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant to name a few.
Driven, iconic, pioneer and relentless are the words I would use to describe the legend of Serena Williams, a true hero who is one of the greatest athletes in American Sports History.