Serena Williams’ Greatness Comes to a Close

Jake Hawkins, Staff Writer

On Aug. 25, it was announced that the 2022 U.S. Open would be Serena Williams’ final tournament. Williams has been a tennis icon, not just for women, but for the sport in general.  She made her professional debut in 1995, and since then has won 73 singles titles and 14 grand slam doubles titles with her older sister Venus Williams. She has also won four Olympic gold medals and earned $94 million dollars in prize money.

Williams’ farewell was celebrated by many, with celebrities all over the world supporting her and some even showing up in the stands to cheer. At this year’s US Open, Williams beat Danka Kovinic 6-3,6-3 in her first match, and in her second match, Annet Kontaveit, caused Williams trouble after she won the first set 7-6 but lost the second set 6-2. Then, in typical Williams fashion, she came out to win the third set and the match 6-2. 

The Williams sisters played their final doubles game on Sept.1 and lost 7-6, 6-4 to Lucie Hradecka and Linda Noskova. Then in the third round on Sept. 2, Williams Lost to Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5, 6-7, 6-1. 

Despite her losses in the U.S. Open, Williams continues to be celebrated by many for her list of achievements.

 “It really brought new inspiration to American tennis to have such a strong female be such a presence and a motivation for the girl athletes,” Miami Palmetto Senior High School tennis coach Kelly Gibson said. “Just I mean, she’s an icon. She definitely, like I said, has motivated female athletes to become stronger to play longer. She’s a very fierce competitor… she’s really put a stamp on her mark in tennis, especially American tennis.”

Williams had talked about leaving her career in tennis and focusing more on motherhood in Vogue magazine’s September edition. 

“As a legend and as being one of the greatest [things] I think really a player does when it’s time to step away and to move on and now becoming a mother and being later in life. It’s harder to recover after each match, [it is hard to] stay in the physical shape as a teenager or you know somebody in their 20s, it’s just not the same. So as much as I hate to see her leave, I think it’s probably time to go out like she did. And let new talent step up,” Gibson said. 

Williams does not believe she is retiring from tennis, but rather evolving away from it, leaving some people with a sliver of hope that Williams is not done yet. Williams has come far from her first major title win in 1999 at 17 years old in the U.S. Open against Martina Hingis, who was ranked number one at the time. 

“She’s done a lot for the sport, especially under the circumstances that she’s gone through with, being pregnant and then coming back to the sport, it’s just inspiring that even after a lot of things bringing her down she can always come back and still do really well,” MPSH tennis player Mia Sorrentino said. 

She has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, more than any man or woman ever in the open era. 

People all around the world have been inspired by Williams’ greatness, so much so, that in 2021 the Oscar-nominated film King Richard was released. The movie is about the history of Serena and Venus Williams, their rise to greatness and the struggles they faced along the way. Williams has created such a large effect on the world of tennis and has been a motivator to tennis players around the globe. 

Though she may have played her last match, Serena Williams’ legacy will never be forgotten. 

“Goat. She is the goat,” Gibson said.