LeBron James, Michelle Obama and more pay tribute to Serena Williams after the final

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Serena Williams retires from tennis after losing at the US Open

STORY: Serena Williams said goodbye emotionally to the US Open on Friday evening, after perhaps the last singles match of her brilliant career. Williams performed her signature victory spin into the loud, crowded New York Stadium despite losing the game in the third round to Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5, 6-7, 6-1. The battle, which lasted more than three hours, was hard fought on both sides, with the ever defiant Williams saving five match points in the final game before scoring the final shot. The crowd got on their feet and applauded the 23-time Grand Slam champion, who recently announced her plans to “move away from tennis” – although she never confirmed when. She choked back tears during the pre-game post-game interview, a moment usually reserved for the winner, saying: “Those are tears of joy I think. I don’t know.” Williams thanked her family and fans — particularly her parents and older sister Venus for their support over the years. The 40-year-old player, who grew up in a poor neighborhood in Compton, California, has one Inspiring a generation of young black girls to dream big and keep fighting, she won her first major at the US Open in 1999 at age 17. This made her the first black American woman to win a singles major since Arthur Ashe in 1975, and becoming the first black American woman since Althea Gibson in 1958. Williams told reporters after Friday’s game that she considers the 2015 French Open to be a career highlight, when she was battling a bad flu to complete her second so-called “Serena Slam” and four grand -Winning consecutive Slam titles She is also one of the few players, male or female, to have won a career Grand Slam en – winning all four majors at some point – in both singles and doubles – and the only player to date to have earned a Career Golden Slam – also Olympic gold – in both categories Open, which took her back to number one in the world rankings and making her the oldest woman to win a major at age 35. She later revealed that she was also pregnant at the time with daughter Alexis Olympia, who died on Thursday (Jan. September) just turned five If she retires now, Williams will take the curtain as the proud owner of the second most Grand Slam singles title in history, behind Australia’s Margaret Court in 24. Was asked about Friday night’s exciting match Williams said, “I don’t think so, but you never know.”

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