Williams was defeated by Ajla Tomlijanovic of Australia during their women’s singles third-round match Friday at the 2022 U.S. Open. The loss likely marks the end of Williams’ 27-year tennis career, as she earlier this month said she planned to retire after playing in the U.S. Open.
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“It’s been the most incredible ride and journey I’ve ever been on in my life,” an emotional Williams said in an on-court interview after the match, which was broadcast on ESPN. She also expressed heartfelt gratitude to her team, her parents, her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, and her sister Venus: “I wouldn’t be Serena if there wasn’t Venus.”
Following Williams’ exit from the U.S. Open, Twitter Sports announced that the 23-time Grand Slam champion was the most tweeted about female athlete ever on the social network. Twitter launched in 2006, so obviously athletes whose active careers have played out within that window would be more highly represented. According to Twitter, 74% of those who tweeted about Serena in August and through Sept. 2 had not previously tweeted about her all year.
On the first day of the U.S. Open tournament, Twitter launched an exclusive GOAT emoji — with a tennis skirt and racket — to honor Williams’ final tournament and greatest-of-all-time-level career. The special emoji appears in tweets that include the following hashtags: #Serena, #SerenaWilliams and #ThankYouSerena. She is among an elite group of athletes whom Twitter has introduced a GOAT hashmoji alongside the likes of Tom Brady, Simone Biles, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Williams’ last Grand Slam victory was at the Australia Open in 2017, when she was two months pregnant with her daughter Olympia. She has said she’s been trying to have another baby with Ohanian.
Here are some of the top tweets about Williams following her swan-song match Friday:
Congrats on an amazing career, @SerenaWilliams!
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
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) September 3, 2022
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
.@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
thank you @serenawilliams for transcending sports for black athletes, female athletes and every athlete🤍
such a pleasure to watch, thanks for being an inspiration
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) September 3, 2022
Her incredible career made its mark on tennis history.
And yet her greatest contributions may be yet to come.
Thank you, @serenawilliams.
Your journey continues. #serena #USOpen https://t.co/0wDFfRN3Dq
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) September 3, 2022
— ESSENCE (@Essence) September 3, 2022
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 3, 2022
It’s been a joy watching greatness! Congrats Serena!
— Derek Jeter (@derekjeter) September 3, 2022
Congratulations, Serena for an inspiring career! Cookie & I are so excited for you. I remember when we talked about you becoming an entrepreneur. Now, I look forward to watching you grow in business! @serenawilliams #Serena
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) September 3, 2022
please divert all taxes to erect a serena williams stadium asap
— ziwe (@ziwe) September 3, 2022
— Twitter Sports (@TwitterSports) September 3, 2022
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