By Anna Goldhirsch and Rachel Jacob
From watching her sister in admiration at the 1997 US Open to winning more Grand Slam singles titles than any other professional tennis player, Serena Williams has come a long way since she first started. Williams has won four Olympic gold medals, leaving her mark on women’s tennis. Her last tournament and her retirement at the 2022 US Open came as a shock to many tennis fans.
At the 2022 US Open, Williams lost her last three-hour match to Ajla Tomljanović in the third set. She was defeated in the first set with a close score of seven to five, but not long after she came back and claimed the second set due to a faulty forehand made by her opponent. As the third set approached, Williams’ fatigue was closing in on her, leading to her defeat.
Though Williams lost the third set, she scored some extraordinary points. She had hit a 117 mph ace, which was the fastest serve of the night.
“I watched Serena’s last tournament on TV and not only did her outfit shine with diamonds, but so did her play. Her passion and determination was shown through the screen, and I can’t imagine how intense it would’ve been to witness in person,” sophomore Jashlene Layug said.
Considering her success and her athleticism, news of Williams' retirement has left many wondering why she is leaving tennis. Williams revealed that she wishes to spend more time with her daughter and husband. Even though this is what Williams wants, she admits that it is not an easy decision.
“I think that that’s admirable, and I would do the same for my family. All good things must come to an end; she had a great career and she deserves a nice retired life,” junior Mia Cho said.
Artwork by Lindsay Kim
Serena Williams receives accolades for her success and diligence throughout her tennis career.
In addition, Williams speaks about wanting another child. She describes not wanting to return to her hardcore training regiment following another round of labor, especially after her near-death experience when giving birth to her first child.
After reflecting on her impact, many students and staff have expressed the sentiment that Williams has inspired many African Americans, especially those who have grown up in impoverished areas.
“A lot of it has to do with race. When kids of all races see someone that looks like them, it gets them interested in the sport,” varsity tennis coach Mr. Basil said.
“Serena is someone who most girls, especially female tennis players, look up to. She proves women’s athleticism,” junior Gabriela Krawczyk said.
Now, many fans are questioning if Williams is definitely leaving. In an interview after her last match at the US Open, she responded that she was unsure about returning. In hearing from Williams, it is evident that her family is most important to her. Williams knows that playing this excruciating sport while being pregnant will simply ruin her. For both her safety and her family's, she has decided to drop the racket.