She holds a bouquet of flowers and wipes a tear from her eye, Serena Williams She waved to a raucous crowd on Wednesday, a day after announcing her impending retirement from tennis.
The 23 times Grand Slam champion Lost 6-2 6-4 by Belinda Bencic in the second round of Canadian Open In Toronto – her first match since writing an article for Vogue stating that “the countdown has begun” and that she will “evolve away from tennis”.
“Like I said in the article, I’m terrible at goodbyes. Goodbye, Toronto,” she said in an interview on the field after the game.
Will likely be Williams’ last appearance in Canadian OpenAfter winning the championship twice during her brilliant career.
Together with her older sister Venus, she helped change the sport, regularly winning Grand Slams in both singles and doubles tennis.
The 40-year-old has 73 singles titles, 23 doubles titles and two mixed doubles titles including 39 Grand Slam titles – 23 singles titles, 14 doubles titles and two mixed doubles titles.
“There was a lot of emotion, of course,” Williams told the audience about the match.
“I love to play here, I have always loved to play here. I wish I could have played better but Belinda played really well today. It was 24 hours of fun.
“Anyway, that’s what it is. I was really happy to be here today and play in front of you guys, thanks for the support.”
Fans packed the 12,500-seat stadium to watch Williams’ farewell and tournament organizers set up a first-ever outdoor viewing area for another 5,000 people.
Inside the stadium, the fans held up banners that read “Thank you Serena”, “23 We’ll Miss You” or simply “The Queen”.
The farewell bid ended with Williams accepting a gift from the Toronto Maple Leafs from the NHL and the Toronto Raptors from the NBA.
Williams is expected to play at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati next, followed by the US Open which she has suggested would be her final tournament.
Meanwhile, Coco Gauff defeated Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina 6-4, 6-7 (8), 7-6 (3) in a marathon match of two hours and 49 minutes on Wednesday to advance to the last 16.
Nick Kyrgios also advanced to the last 16 with an impressive 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-2 victory over world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev.
“Friendly food junkie. Lifelong introvert. Student. Avid coffee scholar. Unapologetic travel specialist. Zombie buff.”
Hershey Bears advance to 2023 Calder Cup Finals, capture Canning Cup as Eastern Conference Champions
The Pirates trade Robert Stephenson to the Rays for Alika Williams, and she’s a potential flu prospect
Heat vs. Nuggets, how to watch, odds, where to stream and more