NEW YORK - Serena Williams' legendary career came to a close at the US Open on Friday night as the 23-time major champion bowed out in a spirited battle to Ajla Tomljanovic, 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-1 in the third round. In a dramatic match that lasted over three hours, Williams saved five match points before the final point fell on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
"It was some really great moments today," Serena said. "Not today, but this week, has been really great. Just so much support, so much love. It was really amazing and overwhelming. So grateful for it. I am so grateful for it.
"I just feel like the whole crowd was really wanting to push me past the line. I'm so thankful and grateful for that."
From Michelle Obama to Magic Johnson, Coco Gauff to Lebron James, John Legend to Bill Gates, here's how the world reacted to Williams' last stand.
Congrats on an amazing career, @SerenaWilliams!— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) September 3, 2022
How lucky were we to be able to watch a young girl from Compton grow up to become one of the greatest athletes of all time.
I'm proud of you, my friend—and I can't wait to see the lives you continue to transform with your talents. pic.twitter.com/VWONEMAwz3
Congratulations, Serena, for your heart, skill, intelligence, dedication, and grace. Few athletes have inspired more people both in and beyond their sport!— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) September 3, 2022
.@SerenaWilliams, you’re an inspiration, a champion of all time.— President Biden (@POTUS) September 3, 2022
Thank you for dreaming, daring, and proving that anything is possible.
Serena, THANK YOU. It is because of you I believe in this dream. The impact you’ve had on me goes beyond any words that can be put together and for that I say thank you, thank you, thank you, GOAT! pic.twitter.com/qeNZlC05WJ— Coco Gauff (@CocoGauff) September 3, 2022
You set the standard, then you raised the bar. You inspired us, you challenged us, you made us stronger.— Petra Kvitova (@Petra_Kvitova) September 3, 2022
Thank you @serenawilliams - for everything you did for our sport. Tennis sure won’t be the same without you ❤️ #legend #ThankYouSerena pic.twitter.com/3HQIFcdXeV
thank you @serenawilliams for transcending sports for black athletes, female athletes and every athlete🤍— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) September 3, 2022
such a pleasure to watch, thanks for being an inspiration
.@serenawilliams you’re literally the greatest on and off the court. Thank you for inspiring all of us to pursue our dreams. I love you little sis!!!!!!— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) September 3, 2022
Age is not what the body tells you, but what your mind tells the body. Teenagers can solve world’s biggest problems, adults can pick up something new & excel.— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) September 3, 2022
Sport inspires society to push limits & achieve the impossible. Congratulations on an inspiring career, @serenawilliams. pic.twitter.com/qxckNSoaw8
Her incredible career made its mark on tennis history.— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) September 3, 2022
And yet her greatest contributions may be yet to come.
Thank you, @serenawilliams.
Your journey continues. #serena #USOpen https://t.co/0wDFfRN3Dq
It’s truly been fun to watch Serena not only change the sport of tennis, but more importantly, how she’s helped empower the next generation. Her tennis accomplishments speak for themselves, but one of the things I admire about her is she simply doesn’t quit. On or off the court— Michael Phelps (@MichaelPhelps) September 3, 2022
her will, her strength, her determination…she simply never gives up. She’s a great example to us all. Congrats and thank you, Serena!!— Michael Phelps (@MichaelPhelps) September 3, 2022
I love you @serenawilliams It’s been the pleasure of a lifetime to watch you become what you have. Can’t wait to see what you do next. Thank you my old friend— andyroddick (@andyroddick) September 3, 2022
Serena fighting until the last point, always. You've given so much to tennis, and so much to womens sports. Thank you @serenawilliams— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) September 3, 2022
We just witnessed the last US Open for the greatest of all time, Serena Williams!! Serena has meant so much to sports, the game of tennis, the world, every little girl, and even more to every little Black girl across the globe. @serenawilliams #ThankYouSerena— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) September 3, 2022
To the goat of the tennis courts, @serenawilliams you own that world. Wishing you just as much success in your retirement.— Bo Jackson (@BoJackson) September 3, 2022
It’s been a joy watching greatness! Congrats Serena!— Derek Jeter (@derekjeter) September 3, 2022
What a run. @serenawilliams will be leaving behind an extraordinary tennis career that challenged the double standard between male and female players. I look forward to watching her continue building her amazing legacy off the court. https://t.co/K9Hxa2jB3I— Bill Gates (@BillGates) September 3, 2022
if you watched @serenawilliams tonight in her final appearance @usopen then you know what a true champion she is, pushing it to the limit, physically, emotionally, spiritually, she never gave up. she is a national treasure, the world of tennis will never be the same.— Sandra Bernhard (@SandraBernhard) September 3, 2022
Forever the GOAT @serenawilliams - no matter how this riveting match ends!!— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) September 3, 2022
Hope no one minds if we update the definition of the word "legend" to simply read: "Serena."— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) September 3, 2022
Salute the GOAT @serenawilliams. What a riveting final bow. Such a gift to watch her incredible career.— John Legend (@johnlegend) September 3, 2022
You’ve enlightened us, thrilled us, entertained us, taught us and inspired us.— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) September 3, 2022
Thank you, @serenawilliams 💙
Serena. Thank you for being you and the inspiration to so many men and women. I’ve never seen a more intense competitor and it was an honor to share a court with you and watch history. Simply the best. @serenawilliams— James Blake (@JRBlake) September 3, 2022
THANKS @serenawilliams YOU’RE GOING OUT SCRAPPING, JUST LIKE YOU CAME IN👊🏾👊🏾👊🏾‼️‼️‼️💯— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) September 3, 2022
So proud of this young woman. Teaching us all to fight to the end. That our reserves are deeper than we think. That we exit on our own terms leaving a standard of excellence. An astonishing champion. #SerenaWilliams— Sherrilyn Ifill (@SIfill_) September 3, 2022