US Open: Serena Williams’ career ends after loss to Ajla Tomljanovic
|Location: Flushing Meadows, New York Day: August 29 to September 11|
|Network coverage: Daily radio commentary on BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app, with selected live text commentary and match reports on the website and app|
Serena Williams waved goodbye to the US Open – and her illustrious career – amid emotional turmoil after she lost to Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic on a thrilling night in New York.
Williams, who turns 41 this month, will retire after the tournament.
It would end a 27-year professional career that took home 23 major singles wins and saw the American tennis player widely regarded as the greatest of all time.
Williams fought back from a set but ultimately lost 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-1.
The longtime former world number one saved five match points in the final match but was powerless to stop the sixth step.
Almost everyone can get to her feet as she leaves the pitch at Arthur Ashe Stadium – the site of her first major win in 1999 and five more wins of her career – for what she expected to be the last time.
As she waved goodbye and turned her signature twist, Tina Turner’s pop classic ‘Simply The Best’ blasted through the sound system.
Asked if she’d reconsider retiring after her performance this week, Williams said: “I’m really playing my way and getting better. I should have started. earlier this year. I don’t think so, but you never know.”
Williams had tears running down her face as she was interviewed in the middle of the court, thanking her family, teammates, crowd and fans around the world for their support over the years. .
“I thank everyone here, that’s been by my side for so many years, so many decades. Oh my gosh, so many decades,” said Williams, who played his first professional league at the age of 14. .
“But it all started with my parents. And they deserved everything. So I’m really grateful to them.
“And I wouldn’t be Serena without it [sister] Venus, thank you, Venus. She’s the only reason Serena Williams ever existed. “
Tomljanovic, who entered the fourth round and played against Russia’s Liudmila Samsonova, stepped aside and applauded her opponent as she picked up the microphone.
The world number 46 put on an extraordinary performance to block out noise and superfluous sensation, exemplified by her clinical strike during the final stages of a brutal three-hour competition five years ago. minute.
Than to follow.