Tennis star Serena Williams is nearing the end of her groundbreaking career following defeat at the US Open

Tennis star Serena Williams is nearing the end of her groundbreaking career following defeat at the US Open

Tennis star Serena Williams is nearing the end of her groundbreaking career following defeat at the US Open

Serena Williams went from learning tennis on public courts in an infamous American underworld neighborhood to becoming a superstar for a generation and possibly the greatest player in history.

Now, the 40-year-old legend is retiring after almost certainly playing his last game, a three-set defeat to Ajla Tomljanovic at Friday’s US Open.

“I’m ready to be a mom and explore a different version of myself,” she said as she looked forward to family time with daughter Olympia.

Serena has become an African American icon in a white-dominated sport, winning 23 Grand Slam titles and smashing milestones with determination as powerful as the raw energy that defines her shooting magic.

Serena and her sister Venus, a seven-time Grand Slam winner, were the executive producers of the film “King Richard” which told the Hollywood tale of how their father Richard Williams taught them tennis as they grew up on the tough streets of Compton, California. .

“I’m still just that girl with the racket and a dream and I’m just playing for that,” Williams said after a 2013 US Open title.

He ended up living the dream by winning seven Australian Open titles, three French Open, seven Wimbledon crowns and six US Open to endure agonizingly just one step away from hitting the all-time record for single-handed Grand Prix titles set. from Margaret Court.

Serena won her first Grand Slam title at the 1999 US Open at the age of 17 and in 2017 she captured her 23rd and most recent major title at the Australian Open while pregnant with Olympia.

She gave birth to her daughter in September 2017 and spent six weeks bedridden after a pulmonary embolism, but struggled to return to competition five months later in the Fed Cup, in doubles alongside Venus.

Williams, whose husband is Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian, has completed a “Serena Slam” twice by winning all four major titles in a row. She did so in 2002-2003 starting with the 2002 French Open and again in 2014-15 starting with the 2014 US Open.

She had a chance to complete a calendar year Grand Slam in 2015, but was upset by Italy’s Roberta Vinci in the US Open semifinals.

“I never want to focus on the numbers,” Williams said. “I started playing tennis not to be the greatest, but only because I had a racket and a dream. Now people say I could be (the greatest), but for me I’m not there yet.

“People like Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf are just, for me, the icons par excellence in the history of women’s tennis”.

Williams brought style and power to his game, sometimes his fashion models distracted from his dazzling efforts on the pitch.

She won the last of her 73 career WTA titles in January 2020 at the Auckland Open, her only mother crown.

Four times Williams had a chance to equal Court’s all-time record, but lost in the 2018 and 2019 Finals at both Wimbledon and the US Open.

Struggles and setbacks

He also fought through fights. Serena’s half-sister Yetunde Price was shot dead in 2003 at the age of 31 by a gang member in their hometown of Compton. She had been Serena’s personal assistant.

After Williams cut her foot in a German restaurant days after her Wimbledon triumph in 2010, she needed two surgeries and spent 20 weeks in a walking cast, a situation she accused of causing blood clots. blood in his lungs in 2011 that threatened his life. She missed three major events and was out for nearly a year.

“(Doctors) said I had clots in both lungs. A lot of people die from it because you don’t recognize it,” Williams said in 2011.

“I couldn’t breathe, honestly I just thought I was out of shape. A couple more days and it wouldn’t have been nice. He could have finished his career.

“Being at the top of your game, having something like this happen randomly was hard and it really makes me appreciate things.”

Williams attributed her success to her father’s work and remained faithful to him even after her parents separated.

“I wouldn’t have won a single title without him and without his support,” Williams said. “He is a great coach. He is so innovative.

“He built my game and my sister’s. He gave us a good foundation. He was solid and he wasn’t weak, so we’ve always been able to grow our game.”

Richard Williams would allow other children to taunt his daughters while they exercised.

“To be successful, you have to prepare for the unexpected – and I wanted to prepare for that,” he told CNN in 2015. “Criticism can bring out the best in you.”

(AFP)

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