Serena Williams, 40, plays her last career match at the 2022 US Open


By Megha Pendyala and Grace Wang

The 23,000 spectators in Arthur Ashe Stadium roared as they saw their hero walk onto the court for what potentially could be the very last time on a late Friday night. Serena Williams, then 40 years old, held her head high as she made her entrance in an incredible diamond-encrusted outfit with her untouchable firepower and fighting spirit. She glittered and gleamed, with diamonds also sparkling in her hair. It was the third round of the US Open, and she was facing her opponent, Ajla Tomlijanovic, who ranked #46. Williams was coming off a massive win over the world number 2.  Everyone, including Tomlijanovic, could feel the tension in the stadium; it was multiplied by every point played. Williams fought her hardest with every ball and the score of the first set ended up being 7-5 for Tomlijanovic. The New York crowd was disappointed but cheered on Williams their hardest. 

Their cheering seemed to motivate Williams as she roared back to win the second set 7-6, with the score of the tiebreaker being an impressive 7-4. Serena Williams played some of her best tennis to win the second set. They were going to a third and final set. Emotions were running high and both of the star tennis players could feel the pressure of this intense game. Serena then broke Tomljanovic in the first game of the third set with some excellent returns. However, she was unable to maintain this high level as she lost the next six games of the match; which ultimately resulted in her losing her match and ending her career. As Serena walked towards the net to congratulate her opponent, the crowd of 23,000 roared. They knew she had tried her very best to win, something that she has always done in her life. Williams knows that she doesn’t have to prove anymore to the world. 

Moments after her last career match, she walked forwards to do her very last on-court interview. She held her head high as she thanked everyone who had helped her get to where she was, including her older sister, Venus. Serena said, “I wouldn’t be Serena if there wasn’t Venus, so thank you, Venus.” She exited with her very last iconic twirl. 

Serena will forever be remembered as arguably the greatest tennis player of all time because of her incredible achievements on and off the court. She won 39 Grand Slams (singles, doubles, and mixed doubles), and has been world number 1 for a total of 319 weeks. She has also won 4 gold medals at the Olympics. Off the court, she has been the highest-paid female athlete since 2016 from endorsements. In fact, she has earned more than 350 million dollars just from endorsements from turning pro in 1995.

Although Serena’s professional career has ended, her legacy on and off the court will live on forever because of the impact she has made. She has transcended the sport, and tennis will not be the same without her. 

Thus, when people ask who the GOAT of tennis is, the answer in our minds will forever be Serena Williams.