Serena Williams is officially bowing out of tennis after losing her third round match-up with Ajla Tomljanović in the 2022 US Open. Despite the defeat, Ja Morant, James Harden, Trae Young and the other NBA stars who watched the showdown couldn’t help but feel proud of the sports icon and her incredible display.
The 40-year-old Williams fought hard after losing the opening set, extending the game with a 7-6 (7-4) performance in the second. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to hold on as Tomljanović dominated the final set for the win.
Williams previously announced that she would retire after the US Open, so Friday’s loss marked the end of her 27-year tennis career. While it wasn’t the conclusion everyone hoped for, there is no denying that Williams deserved all the love and recognition in the world.
Ja Morant gave Serena Williams her flowers, while James Harden called her the GOAT of tennis. On the other hand, Trae Young couldn’t help but be emotional as she thanked the legend.
— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) September 3, 2022
she still the 🎾 🐐!
— James Harden (@JHarden13) September 3, 2022
I’ve been in my crib screaming LOUD AF for Serena!!!!!!! Im sick right now🤧
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) September 3, 2022
Other players like Jalen Brunson and Trendon Watford got emotional as well, while others like Darius Garland simply thanked the tennis great for everything she has done not only for the game but for the whole sports world.
I might cry tbh 🥺
— Jalen Brunson (@jalenbrunson1) September 3, 2022
Nahhhh that’s ode 😭😭😭
— Trendon Watford (@trendonw) September 3, 2022
Serena Williams 🙏🏽
— Darius Garland (@dariusgarland22) September 3, 2022
Serena Williams will forever be remembered as one of the best, if not the greatest to ever step foot on a tennis court–be it hard, clay or grass. Her nearly three decades of dominance is unprecedented, and her legacy as a 23-time Grand Slam singles titles (most in the Open Era), four-time Olympic gold medalist and longest-running no. 1-ranked female tennis player will live on.
It certainly speaks volumes that athletes from other sports, like NBA players, speak so highly of her and show her that much appreciation. That’s what it means to be great–one that transcends the sport.
Thank you, Serena.