If the 2022 U.S. Open is Serena Williams’ last tournament, then she’s going out with a bang.
With Tiger Woods, Dionne Warwick, Spike Lee, Zendaya, and other celebrities in attendance, the tennis icon put on another unforgettable performance defeating Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 6-2, advancing to the third round, Yahoo Sports reported.
Instead of a tour of nostalgia, Williams is playing some of her best tennis and the timing couldn’t be better. As she prepares to turn 41 later this month, the 23-time Grand Slam champion is still a force to be reckoned with.
“I'm looking at it as a bonus, I don’t have anything to prove,” Williams said during her on-court interview after the match. “I don’t have anything to win. I don’t have anything to lose. I haven’t played like this since 1998. I’m enjoying it.”
Kontaveit, who was ranked number two in the world, lauded Williams for her athletic prowess and competitive spirit.
"I honestly feel like Serena started playing better," Kontaveit said."She was hitting it a little bit harder, missing a little bit less. She played a very good third set, I thought.”
"She really switched it on from there, yeah. I mean, I guess there are a few points here and there where I feel like I could have done better on my serve maybe,” she added. “I mean, she was returning better. She was playing the rallies better. I felt like she did everything a little bit better in the third set."
Since she announced plans to “evolve” from tennis, tributes have poured in to celebrate Williams’ remarkable career. On Monday, Gayle King hosted an on-court ceremony that featured a video narrated by Oprah Winfrey and a tribute from Billie Jean King.
With all of the honors bestowed on her, Williams is content with her place in the game as one of the greatest of all time but she is not through yet.
"It's no rush here," Williams said.."I'm loving this crowd. Oh my goodness. It's really fantastic. So there's a little left in me."
Williams is set to face Ajla Tomljanovic on September 2.