HomeBasketballSerena Williams' US Open goodbye might be a swan track to savor

Serena Williams’ US Open goodbye might be a swan track to savor


By Martin Rogers
FOX Sports activities Columnist

It was not possible to learn the essay that amounted to Serena Williams’ goodbye to tennis and never think about a becoming finale, a triumphant scene on the US Open subsequent month by which she hoists the trophy, equals the all-time Grand Slam singles document, and waltzes off into the remainder of her life.

For that to occur would require a nostalgic and emotional journey for the ages, seven victories on the exhausting courts of Flushing Meadows, because the sporting public loses its collective thoughts. 

If Williams racks up sufficient wins to take her into the final weekend of the match, a journey full of escalating anticipation and constructing in momentum all of the whereas, it would turn out to be the story of the New York sports activities summer season, even with Kevin Durant agitating and soccer season quick approaching.

It’s nearly definitely not going to go down that means.

When sporting greats stick round lengthy sufficient, we lose a way of actuality about what they’re able to undertaking. After they’ve achieved the implausible so many occasions earlier than, not even essentially the most preposterous of targets appear past them any longer.

You don’t have to have watched the latest film “King Richard” to understand it was a drastic leap from the established order for a pair of younger Black women from Compton, Calif. — Williams and her older sister Venus — to enter a sport synonymous with nation membership sheen and gather a ridiculous 30 Grand Slams singles titles between them.

Serena Williams is answerable for 23 of that tally, the primary coming in a special millennium, on the 1999 US Open. She at present stands one behind Margaret Courtroom on the all-time checklist, although 11 of Courtroom’s titles got here within the Australian Open, throughout a time when that match was not incessantly attended by the world’s finest.

It’s the place, barring some form of fantastical miracle, she is going to stay, mixed with the standing of the best ladies’s participant of all time and a trailblazing story to go together with it.

As a lot because the fan base would love another run, it’s an excessive amount of to ask. Williams will flip 41 subsequent month, has been a mom for practically 5 years and has a quarter-century of tennis tiredness in her legs.

She’s up towards youthful, brisker, fitter ladies, who’re in a position to put within the form of punishing coaching schedule that Williams as soon as undertook. Not even her expertise, all that information and expertise, and her trademark dedication are sufficient to beat such obstacles any longer.

On Wednesday, Williams misplaced 6-2, 6-4 to Belinda Bencic, the world No. 12, within the second spherical of the Nationwide Financial institution Open in Toronto. “I’m horrible at goodbyes,” she advised the group. “However goodbye, Toronto.”

A couple of extra weeks, and will probably be goodbye to tennis, completely. 

Williams is ranked No. 407 on this planet, primarily as a result of that is the primary rating level match she’s performed since final 12 months’s Wimbledon. Her sole victory in that point got here towards Nuria Párrizas-Díaz within the first spherical this week.

She fights as exhausting as ever, and you may by no means completely dismiss such a champion, however the level of that is to say that what’s occurred already is sufficient.

The fantasy of the perfect farewell is ours, not hers. Williams made this a lot clear in her essay in Vogue journal. Mentally, she has already moved on. She talks about evolving away from tennis, however the evolution is already nicely underway.

She needs to have extra kids and laments {that a} male athlete at an identical age wouldn’t fear that such wishes would finish his profession. She has enterprise pursuits and large concepts and household issues to assault with gusto, as a result of that’s how she lives.

She’s already fought the battle with age that each athlete should address in the end. For essentially the most half, she categorically received it. Beginning with the 2014 US Open, proper when doubts about her continued viability on the very high had been beginning to floor, Williams went on a Grand Slam tear, profitable six of the following 10 and by no means failing to succeed in a minimum of the semis.

It should most likely stay a supply of frustration that she didn’t blast previous Courtroom’s quantity when she had the chance. In 2018 and 2019 she reached 4 Slam finals and was favored to win every of them, however got here up brief — shedding to Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep at Wimbledon and Naomi Osaka and Bianca Andreescu in New York.

“The way in which I see it, I ought to have had 30-plus Grand Slams,” she advised Vogue. “I had my probabilities after getting back from giving beginning … however I didn’t get there.”

That may be the closest we’ll ever get to Williams admitting she doesn’t count on to win the US Open this 12 months.

The very best of athletes, most often, final for longer today. In the beginning of Williams’ profession, the mid-20s was seen as a veteran. Together with the boys’s Large Three of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, she has defiantly reshaped that notion.

She has redefined the game in methods past that, too, making a stand for girls athletes and maintaining tennis within the American highlight throughout a time when the nation’s dominance has dwindled.

The Hollywood ending isn’t going to come back as a result of the Hollywood story has already been written. In some unspecified time in the future over the approaching weeks, the ultimate shot might be hit.

A profession, statistically talking, will finish with a defeat. However might be remembered, endlessly, as a triumph.

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports activities and the creator of the FOX Sports activities Insider e-newsletter. You can subscribe to the every day e-newsletter right here.

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