All eyes are on Serena Williams as she begins her finale US Open on Monday evening against Danka Kovinic. Ahead of the final Grand Slam of the season, several stars have paid tribute to the legendary WTA star, including Rafael Nadal, Daniel Medvedev, Andy Murray and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Nadal has spoken about Williams several times over the past few weeks, making it clear just how important she was inside and outside the tennis world.
“[She is a] great ambassador that [broke] Records. I think as an athlete… [she] was one of the most important athletes in the history of the sport,” Nadal said. “So from a tennis perspective, it’s a big loss that she’s leaving. But on the other hand, she deserves all the things she has achieved because she has worked long enough to achieve it, with a lot of determination, dedication, discipline. If not, all this is impossible.”
Nadal added that he has one wish when Williams’ career is over.
“I just think and hope that if she’s able to stay in the sport in any way, it’s going to be great for our sport because I always believe that the sport is bigger when the legends of our sport are around the sport,” said Nadal . “And she’s a legend. In a way, I hope that she will continue to be involved in the world of tennis.”
Medvedev remembers picking up a bat when he was six years old. When he started watching the sport on TV months later. Williams competed. He is already aware that she is “currently the strongest woman in the world in tennis”.
“Twenty years later I’m here, I’ve already had some success in my career and Serena is still playing, playing her last US Open. It’s just legendary,” said Medvedev. “Every time I’ve seen her in person, she just has this legendary energy about her that I don’t think is easy to live with because that’s why everyone’s a fan of hers. Maybe aparazzi. You come here and say, “I’m a fan,” something special. She has and will certainly have an amazing legacy in tennis.
“I’m sure we’ll still be talking about Serena Williams in a hundred years.”
Former world No. 1 Murray played mixed doubles with Williams Wimbledon in 2019. “I was nervous playing with her,” Murray recalled, adding that she made “a few funny comments” that made it a “really nice” experience for him.
“Your achievements in sport, obviously incredible. She will go down in history as one of the greatest tennis players of all time, if not “the” best on the women’s side,” Murray said. “I also think what she and Venus did is really more remarkable when you combine the two, and it’s probably unlikely that we’ll see anything like it from two sisters again.”
Williams also received a wild card for the women’s doubles draw alongside sister Venus Williams.
“I think it’s really cool that they play doubles together. I think it’s going to be really nice,” Murray said. “She obviously has a massive impact on the sport.”
Tsitsipas, like Medvedev, was a kid when Williams was already dominating the sport. The Greek explained that he was inspired by her.
“What she was able to do on and off the tennis court is what took the game of tennis so high and made it so important as a sport,” Tsitsipas said. “So I give her a lot of credit because she deserves a lot of credit for what she’s done in this sport. She is a phenomenon.”