Serena Williams’ inspiring run through the U.S. Open came to a close Friday night with a third-round loss to Australian Ajla Tomljanović, likely bringing down the curtain on the all-time great’s storied career.
Tomljanović, the tournament’s world’s No. 46 ranked player, won the match 7-5, 6-7, 6-1 at 10:22 p.m at Arthur Ashe Stadium, on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
If Williams’ singles career is done, then her last victory will have been in Wednesday night’s second-round action when she bested the tournament’s No. 2 seed Anett Kontavei, 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-2.
She and sister Venus Williams were eliminated from doubles play on Thursday.
Three weeks ago, the 40-year-old Williams announced she would be “evolving away from tennis” after the U.S. Open and nearly a quarter-century of dominance.
And if this is indeed retirement from tennis for Williams, she leaves the court with a trophy case filled with 23 major singles titles: Six U.S. Open wins, six Australian Open titles, three French Open wins and eight Wimbledon championships.
Williams likely said goodbye to major competitive tennis on the same court where she first served notice of her impending greatness.
While very few opponents got the better of Williams, the iconic player said motherhood and age were unbeatable rivals that factored into her decision to hang it up.
“It comes to a point where women sometimes have to make different choices than men, if they want to raise a family,” Williams told Time magazine, in an interview that was posted hours before she took the court Monday. “It’s just black and white. You make a choice or you don’t.”
Williams said her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., was overjoyed when she learned that her mom might leave the game.
“That kind of makes me sad,” Williams told Time. “And brings anxiety to my heart.”
“It’s hard to completely commit,” she continued, “when your flesh and blood is saying, Aw.”
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