There wasn’t a dry eye at Arthur Ashe Stadium after Serena Williams lost what was likely the final match of her legendary career on Friday night.
After battling it out over three intense sets, the 23-time Grand Slam champion lost to Australia’s Ajla Tomljanović.
In her post-match interview, Williams got emotional as she thanked her parents, including her father Richard Williams, the focus of the Academy Award-winning movie King Richard.
“Thank you, Daddy. I know you’re watching,” she said, tearing up. “Thanks, Mom. Oh, my God.”
“I thank everyone that’s here, that’s been on my side so many years, decades. Oh, my gosh, literally decades. But it all started with my parents. And they deserve everything. So I’m really grateful for them.”
Saying that she thinks her tears “are happy tears,” Williams went on to credit her big sister Venus for making her historic career possible.
“I wouldn’t be Serena if there wasn’t Venus, so thank you, Venus. She’s the only reason that Serena Williams ever existed,” she said.
Williams went on to thank friends and family, including her husband Alexis Ohanian and daughter Olympia, before sending her appreciation to the record-breaking crowd and to the millions of fans who have supported her over her 27-year career.
“It’s been a fun ride. It’s been the most incredible ride and journey I’ve ever been on, I mean, in my life. I’m just so grateful to every single person that’s ever said, Go, Serena, in their life. I’m just so grateful,” she said. “You got me here.”
Serena Williams Says She’s ‘Evolving Away from Tennis’ After the 2022 U.S. Open
Serena Williams and Venus Williams
Serena and Venus Williams. JULIAN FINNEY/GETTY
Williams had said ahead of the tournament that she would be “evolving away from tennis” after the US Open, but in post-match interviews earlier this week she’s hedged the question. On Friday, though, Williams sounded more definitive when asked if this was really it.
“I don’t think so, but you never know,” she said.
“Clearly I’m still capable,” she added in her post-match press conference later that night. “It takes a lot more than that. I’m ready to, like, be a mom, 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.”
The sports icon, who went pro at age 14 in 1995 after being trained by her father, Richard Williams, in their Compton, California neighborhood, is a seven-time Australian Open women’s singles champion, a seven-time Wimbledon winner, a six-time US Open victor, and has won the French Open three times.
Along the way, she and older sister, Venus, teamed up to win 14 major doubles championships.
Serena Williams Likely Plays Last Doubles Match and She and Sister Venus Lose at US Open
Williams said Friday that if this is truly it for her professional career, she still expects to remain in tennis in some capacity.
“For me, tennis has been such a huge part of my life, I can’t imagine not being involved in tennis,” she said. “I don’t know what that involvement is yet. But I feel like it’s provided me with so many opportunities. Through that, it’s provided other people with so many amazing opportunities. I think it means so much to me in my life, and I’ve had so many amazing moments, that I don’t see a future without it.”