Updated: Sep 1
In the final tournament of Serena William’s illustrious career at the US Open, she opened singles play by beating No.80 ranked Montenegrin tennis player Danka Kovinic, with a 6-3, 6-3 first-round victory at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. Williams will open doubles play with her sister Venus on Wednesday and will also move on to round 64 of singles play that day, to go up against No.2 ranked Anett Kontavelt of Estonia, in what will be their first career meeting.
Williams struggled with her serve early in the match on Monday evening, being down 40-15 in the first set at one point. She double-faulted twice in the first set but eventually elevated her game back to the Serena we have known throughout the decades; she increased her first-serve percentage to 66%, winning 33 of 43 first-serve shots. After initially struggling with her serve, Williams ended up winning the match, taking 10 of the final 13 matchups against Kovinic.
In just the third match of her career since Williams stated she will "evolve away from tennis,” she looked every bit like her old self when the game was in the balance to win. Williams uses the word evolve instead of retirement, as she mentioned in Vogue magazine, saying, "I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn't feel like a modern word to me. I've been thinking of this as a transition, but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people."
Like many great iconic athletes from the past with illustrious careers, it is very hard to let go of something you’ve dedicated your blood, sweat, and tears to for so many years, from hours of training, to a proper food diet so your body can perform at the absolute peak of its powers. This is something the great ones sacrifice day in and day out, and Williams is no different from her predecessors in how hard retirement is going to be for her. She stated, "I think when you're passionate about something and you love something so much, it's always hard to walk away. Sometimes I think it's harder to walk away than to not. That's been the case for me."
Williams will still be busy after retirement, whether it’s running her own venture capital company, to being a mom to her daughter Olympia. Even though the legend of Serena Williams will never be forgotten, she will surely still keep herself busy because that’s who she’s always been: a go-getter, a woman with a maniacal drive to be successful.