After a career that includes a modern-day record 23 Grand Slam titles, tennis legend Serena Williams likely played her last match after a three-hour, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-1 loss to Australian player Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round of the US Open on Sept. 2.
Since her announcement, Williams has been given a hero's farewell from the crowds in Toronto, Cincinnati and New York, ESPN noted. All three of her matches helped break US Open attendance records and included celebrities/dignitaries such as film director Spike Lee, former President Bill Clinton, Vogue editor Anna Wintour, golf legend Tiger Woodsand sister Venus Williams, a tennis legend in her own right.
After congratulating her opponent, Williams waved to the crowd and briefly covered her tearful face with a towel before doing her interview. As Williams stepped off the court for the final time in singles play at Arthur Ashe Stadium, as Tina Turner's "Simply The Best" played.
Williams' mark of 23 major titles is the most by any player in the Open Era and trails only Margaret Court (24) for the most ever. Her lengthy list of accomplishments includes 73 career singles titles, 16 major doubles and mixed doubles titles, 4 Olympic gold medals and 319 weeks at No. 1.
Williams' career was celebrated following her first-round match with an on-court ceremony hosted by Gayle King and featured a video narrated by Oprah Winfrey as well as a tribute from Billie Jean King.