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Serena Williams Bids Tennis An Emotional Goodbye After Closing Match

Serena Williams bid an emotional goodbye to tennis after playing what is likely to be her final professional match on Friday.

The player bowed out of the third-round of the US Open tournament after losing in three sets to Ajla Tomljanovic.

Following her previous victories against Danka Kovinic and Anett Kontaveit, her fans hoped her swansong could have a fairy-tale ending.

But, despite a memorable second-set fightback in a raucous atmosphere, there will be no record-equalling 24th grand slam singles title, with Serena succumbing to a 7-5 6-7 (4) 6-1 loss.

After missing a final forehand, Serena – who played her first professional tennis match back in 1995 – walked to the net before waving to all sides of Arthur Ashe Stadium while simply playing the best over the loudspeakers.

Addressing the crowd through tears, she said: “Thank you so much, you guys were amazing. I tried. Thank you daddy, I know you’re watching. Thanks mom.

“I just thank everyone that’s here, that’s been on my side for so many years, literally decades, but it all started with my parents and they deserve everything so I’m really grateful for them. And I wouldn’t be Serena if there wasn’t Venus, so thank you Venus. It’s been a fun ride.”

She had previously revealed she had decided the time was right to step away.

“This week has been really great,” she said later. “Just so much support, so much love. It was really amazing and overwhelming. I’m so thankful for it. The whole crowd was really wanting to push me past the line. I’m so thankful and grateful for that.”

She added: “It takes a lot of work to get here. Clearly I’m still capable. It takes a lot more than that. 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.”

Former first lady Michelle Obama led tributes to her friend and her “amazing career,” on social media saying she would go on to “transform lives” with her talents.

Other famous faces including Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Hudson and Tiger Woods also hailed Serena as a “legend forever”.

Congratulations on an amazing career, @SerenaWilliams!

How lucky were we to be able to watch a young girl from Compton grow up to become one of the greatest athletes of all time.

I’m proud of you, my friend—and I can’t wait to see the lives you continue to transform with your talents. pic.twitter.com/VWONEMAwz3

— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) September 3, 2022

.@serenawilliams you’re literally the greatest on and off the court. Thank you for inspiring all of us to pursue our dreams. I love you little sis!!!!!

— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) September 3, 2022

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