Chris Evert says Serena Williams is “no longer the Serena of the time” but is still hoping interest in the American’s games at the US Open spills over. Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion, will retire from professional tennis at the US Open.
Evert acknowledged Williams is “the best player of this generation” and believes “every tennis fan” wants a ticket to see the American’s games. “She was the best player of this generation,” Evert told Women’s Wait Daily.
“She’s going to go crazy. All the fans will want a ticket to see Serena because they think it’s her last game. She’s not the Serena she was then, she’s 40 years old and she’s starting to lose to the players who used to hit her.
I don’t know how long she’s going to last the tournament so it’s going to be a crazy first week with people trying to get one last glimpse of her.” Evert, an 18-time Grand Slam champion, turned pro in 1972 and retired in 1982.
When asked to compare the circumstances surrounding her imminent retirement to Williams, Evert noted that every player has their reasons for retiring. “Everyone retires for a different reason. Sometimes your body gives up, sometimes you’re mentally exhausted.
I retired because I was mentally exhausted. When people talk about Serena and Roger [Federer] and ask, ‘When will you retire? If you haven’t been through that, you have no idea.”
Gabriel about Serena Williams
In an article for We Are Tennis, Craig Gabriel spoke highly of Serena Williams, saying that she should be kept at the same level as some of the best athletes in the world in all sports.
“She never wanted to be considered the greatest athlete in the world, she wanted to be considered one of the greatest athletes. Period,” he said, adding, “She should probably be considered alongside the likes of Tom Brady, Usain Bolt, Michael Jordan, etc. because not only did she reach the top, she and her family made it without that favors were bestowed on them.”
Gabriel said that while it’s not the traditional way for an athlete to announce his retirement, Williams has always been used to “doing things her way.” “Her announcement in Vogue magazine was a different way of doing things, but being different and doing things her way is what made Serena Williams stand out from the crowd.
Her announcement that her career match point had arrived was inevitable, but even Serena could not have imagined leaving tennis the way things have unfolded over the past few weeks,” he said.