Serena Williams’ US Open finale against Ajla Tomljanovic last Friday scored a record 4.8 million viewers, ESPN said Tuesday, making it the the most-watched tennis telecast in the cabler’s 43-year-history.
The presumed swan song for the tennis superstar, in the tournament’s third round at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, averaged 4.6 million viewers (P2+).
It didn’t matter that Williams lost to Australia’s Tomljanovic 7-5, 6-7, 6-1. Fans were just happy to see her play — perhaps for the last time — as she bid an emotional farewell after 27 years to her home country’s Grand Slam.
Serena’s match averaged 4.8 million viewers from 7:15 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. ET and peaked with 6.9 million viewers in the 10:15 p.m. quarter-hour. The match boosted ESPN’s ratings 101% from 2021, with an average of 1.1 million viewers tuning in for the first five days of the US Open.
The previous ESPN record of 3.9 million viewers was set at 2012 Wimbledon, when Roger Federer defeated Andy Murray.
Williams, who announced that she would “evolve away” from the sport last month, paid tribute to her sister Venus Williams, her father and coach Richard Williams and her final opponent before leaving the court.
A speech worth of the
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 3, 2022