US Open: Iconic farewell for Serena Williams

NEW YORK | Will Serena Williams push back the deadline again on Friday evening, when she will face Australian Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round of the US Open, the final tournament of her illustrious career?

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Against world number 2 Anett Kontaveit on Wednesday, the player with 23 major titles made people forget her 40 years. Aggressive, powerful, and even quite leggy, the American flew over the third set to give herself the chance to play at least one more match in the biggest tennis stadium in the world.

What she will do on Friday evening, starting at 7 p.m. This time it is the 46th in the world that will stand before her. A player she has never faced during her long career which will have stretched over almost three decades.

But beyond the inspired tennis she plays in New York, something else catches the eye when it comes to the former world No. 1: the pomp in which she bids farewell.


On the panels that illuminate the Arthur-Ashe stadium during its matches, we can read two inscriptions: “ Greatest of all time (“the greatest of all time”) and “ Twirl for Serena (“twirl for Serena”).

If the first sentence obviously refers to her exploits on the field – 73 singles titles, including 23 majors, and 319 weeks spent at the top of the rankings – the second recalls this habit that the champion has taken to spinning on herself. on the field to celebrate their victories.

Williams has done it again after each of her US Open wins this week. She twirled her black dress inspired by those worn by figure skaters and adorned with diamonds that recall the New York sky at night.

The bottom of the dress prepared by Nike was originally to consist of six layers of fabric, recalling each of his triumphs at the United States Open. But it made the dress too heavy, regretted Serena, who had four removed.


Belinda Bencic, who beat Williams in Toronto, had predicted it: the players who faced the great champion in New York would not only have to beat the legend, but also the crowd.

For its first two games, the Arthur-Ashe had a full house, some 24,000 spectators having purchased tickets, despite the high price of these (in the last few days, it cost around $350 for a single ticket located in the heights of the stadium).

Bencic was right. The New York crowd is used to being hostile, but it’s especially hostile when Serena is on the court this week, cheering every point she makes like a match point. “I knew it would be, but it was actually very hard. They wanted her to win so badly. And she deserves it, ”pointed Anett Kontaveit, after his defeat.


It’s not just Serena’s dress that shines high above Arthur Ashe Stadium. There are also her shoes, on which 400 diamonds have been hand-encrusted. We can also read in gold his initials “SW”, as well as the words ” mama (“mom”) and “ queen » (« reine »).

The American is a fashion enthusiast, who has often turned heads for her sometimes extravagant, sometimes controversial outfits. She participated with Nike, her long-time sponsor, in the creation of this collection created only for the US Open.


There are a myriad of stars, well-known personalities in the stands for each of Williams’ games in New York. During the first meeting on Monday, it was notably possible to see the former American president Bill Clinton, the ex-skier Lindsey Vonn, the pioneer and founder of the WTA Billie Jean King, as well as the models Bella and Gigi Hadid.

Several of them were back on Wednesday. The legend’s family, including his sister Venus, her husband Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of the website Reddit, and her 4-year-old daughter, Olympia, also came to cheer her on.

Tiger Woods, a good friend of the champion, was also seen vigorously applauding some of her winning shots. In his essay for the magazine Voguein which she announced her retirement project, Serena also said that she had discussed with the golfer before returning to competition at Wimbledon.

“He said to me, ‘Why don’t you give yourself two weeks? No obligation, just to see how you feel?” »

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