Serena Williams’ U.S. Open Win Sees 279% Increase in Viewership for ESPN

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An average of 2.7 million people tuned to watch Serena Williams defeat Danka Kovinic during Monday night’s opening match of the U.S. open, which is expected to be the legendary tennis player’s final event.

The viewership quadrupled year-over-year (up 279%) and was also a hefty 40% increase in viewership from the 2019 opening night match. According to ESPN, it’s the best opening day/night viewership for the U.S. Open since the network acquired the event in 2015.

The match lasted about an hour and 45 minutes, and the audience peaked in the last quarter-hour at 3.2 million.

After Williams’ match ended on Monday, she received tributes from Gayle King and fellow tennis legend Billie Jean King.

William recently announced that she’s strongly eyeing retirement in the cover story essay she wrote for the September issue of Vogue. While she didn’t give a timeline, Williams implied her retirement will come soon and many have speculated that the current U.S. Open will be Williams’ final tournament as a professional tennis player.

“I have never liked the word ‘retirement.’ It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me,” Williams wrote in her Vogue essay. “I’ve been thinking of this as a transition, but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people. Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is ‘evolution.’ I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.”

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Serena Williams Announces Tennis Retirement Plans: ‘It’s the Hardest Thing That I Could Ever Imagine’