As many times before, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams are among the biggest stars of the upcoming US Open. While Rafa will have more chances to compete in the most notable scene in the following years, it’s the one last show for Serena, who will retire in front of her home crowd.
Nadal praised Williams, calling her a legend and saying it’s a shame she leaves the sport after giving it so much for the past 25 years. The veteran will enter her 21st and last US Open, deciding to retire at her beloved tournament, where she debuted in 1998 at 16!
Williams has played only nine events since the start of 2021, reaching two semi-finals in Melbourne last year and failing to repeat that. Serena experienced an injury at the last year’s Wimbledon and stayed away from the court for almost a year.
The American surprised everyone when she signed to play the doubles in Eastbourne this June before embracing another Wimbledon campaign. Serena suffered a heavy 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 loss to Harmony Tan in the first round at the All England Club.
Williams entered Toronto and faced Nuria Parrizas Diaz in the first match. The American earned a 6-3, 6-4 triumph in an hour and 57 minutes for her first victory in 430 days! Serena grabbed three breaks and defended seven out of eight break chances to emerge at the top.
Rafael Nadal spoke about Serena Williams ahead of the US Open.
Williams faced Belinda Bencic in the second round and experienced a 6-2, 6-4 defeat. In her last pre-US Open clash, Williams suffered a heavy 6-4, 6-0 loss to Emma Raducanu in just over an hour in Cincinnati.
The youngster built an early lead in the opening set and kept it for 6-4. Emma was the only player on the court in set number two, delivering one of Serena’s rare bagels and advancing into the second round. Williams will play on Monday night at Arthur Ashe Stadium, hoping for a good run in front of her partisan crowd in what should be an emotional duel for her.
“From a sporting perspective, it’s a shame that Serena is retiring. On the other hand, she deserves to enjoy everything she has achieved. Serena has worked hard for a long time, with determination, dedication and discipline. I hope she will stay around tennis somehow; that would be good for tennis. Serena is a legend,” Rafael Nadal said.