Former doubles world No. 1 Rennae Stubbs said players showing up to Cincinnati’s Centre Court to watch one of Serena Williams’ final matches just shows how much respect and appreciation she is enjoying on the Tour. On Monday night, Williams, 40, clashed 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu in the Cincinnati first round.
The Williams and Raducanu match drew enormous attention, and at the start of the second set, the cameras showed Naomi Osaka in the stands enjoying the match. Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion, suffered a 6-4 6-0 loss to Raducanu.
“The amount of players watching @serenawilliams play live tonight was interesting. Including Naomi Osaka. It just shows you how much respect she has and how players have looked up to her through the years,” Stubbs wrote on Twitter.
Raducanu showed respect for Williams
Raducanu, 19, was playing Williams for the first time.
After the win, Raducanu kept it classy as she called Williams an “inspiration” and also said it was an “honor” to play the American. “I’m so grateful for the experience to be able to play her and for our careers to have crossed over, and everything she has achieved is so inspirational and it was a true honour to share the court with her,” Raducanu said after the match.
The whole Cincinnati stadium was rooting for Williams, but Raducanu was pretty okay with it. “I mean the atmosphere tonight was amazing and to play with Serena, I mean for sure even when you guys were cheering for her I was all for it.
Well, I think we all need to just honour Serena and her amazing career,” Raducanu added. Now, there is only one tournament left on Williams’ schedule before she retires. The US Open starts on August and that’s where Williams is planning to end her career.