Overcome the emotion, before 23,800 fans who only had eyes for her, despite the specter of a final defeat probably synonymous with retirement, Serena Williams made her debut this Monday with success at the US Open, prolonging the pleasure until after a ceremony in the form of an ultimately premature tribute. Farewells are more beautiful when they are not yet. Carried by chanted “GOATS” from the stands of Arthur-Ashe Court, the scene of some of her biggest victories, including six coronations at Flushing Meadows, the 40-year-old American came out on top, beating Montenegrin Danka Kovinic. in straight sets (6-3, 6-3).
Diamonds are forever. Serena too. So she decided to put it on. No less than 400, in her hair, embedded in her headband, in her black dress and in her sneakers, they said precious stones drawing the Nike logo with stars around it. The “Queen” entered the arena in a burst of decibels, after a video showing her six coronations at Flushing Meadows, commented on by another famous Queen, Latifah, singer, actress, producer, praising “the Queen” who “didn’t never will.” be defeated without a fight.
“The crowd was crazy”
Under the gaze of her husband Alexis Ohanian, her daughter Olympia and an audience of stars: Mike Tyson, Lindsey Vonn, Hugh Jackman, Spike Lee, Bill Clinton, who was president when Williams began writing her legend in 1999 with a first title of Major at the US Open – Serena roared, screamed, clenched her fist and even raised her fist on her way to a win worth many wins. Her emotion was at its peak at her first match point, the successful one, the public standing up at her rival’s serve, to immortalize the moment with the phones. “Unheard of in Flushing” from a journalist’s memoir New York Times who has still seen many historic matches.
“The crowd was crazy. It really helped me. I feel so comfortable, in front of everyone here. When I get on the court, I just want to do my best, especially on a night like this,” she said later. Victory in hand, everyone rejoiced then, in the stands where diversity has never been so visible for a sport long reserved for the white elite. Proof of Serena’s immense impact on her sport.
“Ten or twenty years ago, this place didn’t look like this,” says Tia Green, a 50-year-old Oklahoma City woman with four cousins. “Coming from a deprived neighborhood in California, Compton, where there were no tennis courts…she became an inspiration and dominated the sport. For minorities, she is an ambassador. She proved that you could do things you thought were impossible. »
Last tournament, seriously?
Icon beyond the courts, Serena did not stop being greeted, during a ceremony of about half an hour in the presence of another tennis legend, Billie Jean King. “You are not afraid of anything. I love it. And you hate losing. It’s great. You have touched our hearts and our minds. Thank you for her leadership and her commitment to greater diversity, equity, and inclusion, especially for women and women of color,” the gender equality activist paid tribute to her.
” Next ” ? It happens on Wednesday. Because Serena the fighter intends to continue with her last dance against the Estonian Anett Kontaveit, whatever world number 2 she is. And maybe even later… Because the American, confirming at a press conference that this was indeed her last tournament, left some doubts. “I’ve been pretty vague about it, haven’t I? I’ll stay because you never know,” she replied. Enigmatic.
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