Since Serena Williamss announcement in Vogues September issue that she’ll be stepping back from professional tennis imminentlywhich many understood to imply that this years U.S. Open will be her lastthe world has been watching the 40-year-old tennis legends every move more closely than ever before.
Your day after her story was published, Williams played the Canadian Open in Toronto and was presented with a standing ovation, while ticket sales for the U.S. Open have skyrocketed in the about a week because the announcement was madeand thats without mentioning the emotional tributes which have poured in from all over the world, with sporting figures including Billie Jean King and Lewis Hamilton all voicing their admiration for the tennis star.
But before she steps onto the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium for what may be the ultimate time, Williams has one final tournament to perform: the Cincinnati Masters, also referred to as the Western & Southern Open, which kicked off earlier today at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio. (Williams has won the womens singles title at your competition twice, defeating Ana Ivanovic in 2014 and Simona Halep in 2015.)
All eyes will undoubtedly be on Williamss first-round match tomorrow, where she faces off against the one and only the defending U.S. Open womens singles champion Emma Raducanu, the tennis wunderkind who was simply catapulted to global fame this past year. (Taking home the trophy at 18, Raducanu was just one single year over the age of Williams was when she won her first Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open in 1999.) Because of this quirk of the draw at Cincinnati, the unseeded Williams and 10th seed Raducanu will go toe-to-toe for the firstand likely the lasttime.
Having the ability to play Williams in the purported final weeks of her career is really a challenge that Raducanu is evidently thrilled by. It’ll be a thrilling match, Im looking towards it, she told reporters throughout a press conference yesterday prior to the tournament. Its likely to be my last possibility to play her unless I draw her in NY, but I believe whatever happens its just likely to be considered a great memory that Ill will have.
The pair will hit the court tomorrow evening at the same time that’s yet to be confirmedbut monitor your calendars for exactly what will surely function as to begin many unmissable matches during Williamss final weeks on the tour.