Serena Williams’ Career Comes To a Close

Serena Williams, 23-time Grand Slam singles winner, announced her retirement from competitive tennis this past August. Armed with seven titles at the Australian Open, three at Roland Garros, seven at Wimbledon and six at the US Open, Williams looked to make one last appearance in this year’s US Open before her career came to a close.

Though predominantly a singles player, Williams also holds 14 Grand Slam doubles titles with her older sister, Venus. Serena Williams’ win to loss ratio going into her last major was an astounding 365 wins to 55 losses, losing just 15% of her career matches on the Women’s Tennis Association Tour (WTA) according to WTA’s website.

Williams shared she would be moving “away from tennis, and toward other things that are important to [her]” in an article she wrote for Vogue in August 2022. She said that this decision was not easy and that she is reluctant to stop playing competitive tennis after 27 years on the circuit.

From Williams’ very first round at the 2022 Open, the energy was electric. All of her matches took place in Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, New York, hosting a maximum capacity of 23,771 guests. Attendance at Williams’ matches broke the single day attendance record at the US Open. In her first-round match, Williams beat Danka Koninić of Montenegro in consecutive sets, winning both 6-3. Though typically leaning toward stronger play at the net, Williams instead played aggressively when approaching from the baseline against Koninić. Sports analysts from ESPN attribute her early success at the Open to this strategic play. Williams has played professionally since before Koninić was born, and her almost three decades of competition experience showed on the court.

Williams found success again in the second round of the Open, defeating No. 2 Anett Kontaveit, 7-6, 2-6, 6-2, winning the first set in a tiebreak. With a first serve success percentage of 64%, Williams pulled off an unexpected upset, according to Washington Post analysts.

Williams’ third and final match was against Australian Alja Tomljanovic. Two of three sets ended in tiebreaks, with Williams and Tomljanovic splitting the pair, leaving the third as the deciding set. Tomljanovic ended up winning the match with a 6-1 set win in the third set, ultimately eliminating Williams from the Open and ending her career on the WTA circuit. This game was the longest US Open match Williams had ever played, lasting three hours and five minutes.

“I’m feeling really sorry just because I love Serena just as much as you guys do,” Tomljanovic said in her post-match interview. “What she’s done for me, for the sport of tennis, is incredible,” she added.

In her own post-game interview after losing to Tomljanovic, Williams immediately addressed her retirement.

“I’m ready to 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,” Williams said.  In her retirement, Williams looks forward to focusing on her venture capital firm, Serena Ventures, and Serena Williams Jewelry, as she shared in her August Vogue article.

Although Williams is retiring from the court, her  historic success will continue to influence the game of tennis in the years to come.