After Serena Williams bowed out of the US Open, her peers in the tennis world, including Rafael Nadal and Coco Gauff, made sure to give her a proper and fitting farewell.
Even before the competition, Williams announced that the US Open would be her final competition before retiring–which she called “evolving away from tennis.” With that, her third-round loss on Friday also marked her final professional game in the sport.
Despite the defeat, present and past tennis players didn’t forget to give her the recognition she deserves as a trail blazer and inspiration in the sport. Rafael Nadal previously thanked Williams for being an incredible ambassador of the sport, adding that it was a huge honor for him to share most of his career with the American superstar.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) September 1, 2022
Meanwhile, teenage star Coco Gauff didn’t hide her admiration for Serena Williams who inspired her to pursue tennis. The current women’s World no. 12 shared that it was because of Williams that she kept believing in her tennis dream..
“The impact you’ve had on me goes beyond any words that can be put together and for that I say thank you, thank you, thank you, GOAT!” Gauff exclaimed on Twitter.
Other players, past and present, also honored Williams in their own ways and thanked her for representing the game of tennis in the best way she can. She was the face of the sport for a long time, and without her impact, the state of tennis might have been different that it is today.
— Juan M. del Potro (@delpotrojuan) September 3, 2022
— Caroline Garcia (@CaroGarcia) September 3, 2022
Here are some more reactions from her peers in the tennis word:
— Carlos Alcaraz (@carlosalcaraz) September 3, 2022
Serena. Thank you for being you and the inspiration to so many men and women. I’ve never seen a more intense competitor and it was an honor to share a court with you and watch history. Simply the best. @serenawilliams
— James Blake (@JRBlake) September 3, 2022
— Jessie Pegula (@JLPegula) September 3, 2022
Thank you and congratulations for a legendary career, Serena!