The sporting world is resigned to not seeing Serena Williams on a tennis court again as honors have been inundated after she announced her retirement from the game on Tuesday.
The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion has retired and announced her decision in next month’s Vogue, although a firm date on when she will leave has not yet been confirmed.
The news comes after the American superstar recorded her first win in 430 days, but she said in the article: “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever imagined. I don’t want it to be over, but at the same time I’m ready for what’s next.”
Admiring and emotional tennis fans have taken to social media to pay tribute to the 40-year-old, calling her the “greatest of all time”.
One wrote: “Wow I got emotional reading this. You retire as a GOAT,” while another added, “GOAT,” and one just responded with multiple goat emojis.
The official Olympics Twitter account paid tribute to the outgoing star, writing: “Champion. Inspiration. Legend. The sport will miss you, Serena.”
Serena Williams announced her retirement from tennis on Tuesday, with the last game imminent
Tennis fans celebrated the 23-time Grand Slam champion as the “greatest of all time”.
The official Olympics Twitter account paid tribute to the departing star
Williams’ retirement is not immediate. As she revealed in her article, Williams is still hoping to play at the US Open in New York later this month. She also has plans to play at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati next week.
“Unfortunately this year I wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon,” she wrote. “And I don’t know if I’ll be ready to win New York. But I will try it. And the preparatory tournaments will be fun.”
Williams isn’t looking for the kind of farewell tour that many male athletes enjoyed ahead of their imminent retirement.
Williams announced her impending retirement in Vogue next month, in part because she wants to spend more time with daughter Olympia (right).
Instead, the younger half of the famous Williams Sisters thanked fans in her play and admitted she will miss the game – and the person she used to be.
“But I’m not looking for a ceremonial, last moment on the pitch,” she continued. “I’m terrible at goodbyes, the worst in the world. But please know that I am more grateful to you than I can ever put into words. You have carried me to so many wins and so many trophies. I will miss that version of me, that girl who played tennis. And I will miss you.’
Other fans expressed their gratitude for what she did, saying: “I’m trying to find the words to describe how I feel when I hear the news of your retirement. I just say thank you. Thank you for being an inspiration to those who came after you. Thank you for your strength and courage and for staying true to yourself.’
Admiring and emotional fans took time to pay tribute to the American superstar and many thanked her for what she did
SERENA’S INCREDIBLE INDIVIDUALS HONOR ROLL
US Open: 6 titles (1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Wimbledon: 7 (2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016)
Australian Open: 7 (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2017)
French Open: 3 (2002, 2013, 2015)
Olympic Games: Gold, 2012
319 weeks as world No. 1
Prize money: $94,524,403 (1st place in all-time ranking)
One put it simply, writing: “Thank you @serenawilliams for everything,” and another added: “We love you @serenawilliams – thank you for everything you’ve given us. Excited for your next chapter.”
Meanwhile, one fan couldn’t contain emotion as he admitted to “sobbing” at the news. “A nice photo to be sure. However, I’m not sure everyone is ready for the reading material. I’m not crying – I’m sobbing. It is different.’
Not only does Williams want to spend more time with her husband Alexis and their five-year-old Olympia, but the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion revealed the couple is trying to have another child in the near future.
“For the last year Alexis and I have been trying to have another child and we recently received some information from my doctor that has put my mind at ease and that we can expand our family whenever we are ready . ‘ Williams wrote. “As an athlete, I definitely don’t want to get pregnant again. I need to be two feet into tennis or two feet out.
Williams’ swan song could be seen at the US Open in Flushing Meadows later this month.
In a post on her Instagram page on Tuesday, she said: “There comes a time in life when we must choose to go in a different direction. This time is always tough when you love something so much.
“Gosh, I enjoy tennis. But now the countdown has started. I need to focus on being a mom, my spiritual goals, and finally discovering another, just plain exciting, Serena.
“I’m going to enjoy these next few weeks.”