Former world number one Serena Williams won her first round at Flushing Meadows as she beat Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic 6-3 6-3. The 40-year-old revealed earlier this month that she was contemplating retirement and that the US Open might be her last professional competition. Williams beat Kovinic in one of her finest games in recent times as the crowd cheered her on after the win.
Williams, who is one Grand Slam shy of equalling the world record of most Grand Slam titles (24), has won the US Open six times, with her last win in 2014. She first won the US Open title in 1999, four years after she turned pro.
In recent years, she has struggled with winning matches and has dropped in the WTA rankings. She is currently ranked world 407. Just this month, she was beaten by US Open defence champion Emma Raducanu at the National Bank Open.
On Wednesday, she would face Anett Kontaveit in the second round of the tournament. Williams is also paired with her older sister Venus at the doubles event, and she has won the US Open doubles twice in her career.
It is expected that at the end of the tournament, Williams would officially announce her retirement, but that is not a certainty. She revealed in her interview with Vogue that she has struggled with coming to terms with her retirement but feels she is nearing that stage soon. But she did not give any official timeframe as to when her retirement would be, as she even said that she feels there is still more she can do: “the more tournaments I play, I feel like the more I can belong out there. ‘That’s a tough feeling to have, and to leave knowing the more you do it, the more you can shine.”
With so many records broken, Williams would be retiring as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Since making her debut in 1999, she enjoyed a fast rise due to her level of skill and has gone to attain heights no other player has managed to reach.