Final Match for a Champion

Serena Williams Reflects on Career

Serena Williams brings her influential 27-year career to a close after a three-set loss to Ajla Tomljanovic in the U.S. open on Friday, Sept. 2.

In what would have been her 24th major title, Williams put up a good fight against her first two opponents. But, after four days and two prime-time matches, Williams lost to 29-year-old Ajla Tomljanovic from Australia. 

“She had looked rusty and slow all summer, but over the course of four days and two prime-time matches, it looked like the 40-year-old just might mount a magical, storybook run for a 24th major title,” Matthew Futterman, writer for the New York Times, said.

I just thought she would beat me.

— Ajla Tomljanovic

The score was 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-1, meaning Tomljanovic won the first set, the pair tied in the second set where Serena won the tiebreaker, and, in the third set, Tomljanovic won the full match.

“The loss… likely spelled the end of a 27-year career that forever changed the world’s perception and understanding of women–especially Black women–in sports,” Futterman said in his article with the New York Times.

Williams will have an unquestionable, everlasting impact on women’s tennis, and will likely be a role model for female athletes for years to come. Even her opponent recognized the impact Williams made on the sport.

“I just thought she would beat me. … She’s Serena. That’s just who she is: She’s the greatest of all time.” Tomljanovic said in her post game interview.

Tomljanovic grew up watching Williams play, making this a momentous event for both competitors.

“It’s been the most incredible ride and journey I’ve ever been on in my life,” Williams said after the match.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion has made mention of her plans after her incredible career. Williams looks forward to retirement and spending more time with her 5-year-old daughter, Alexis.

“I’m ready to, like, be a mom, explore a different version of Serena,” Williams said.