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Photo by: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Put respect on her legacy!

In the first round of the US Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium, tennis icon Serena Williams defeated Danka Kovini 6-3, 6-3 to start singles play in what is most certainly the final tennis competition of her illustrious career.

“The crowd was crazy,” Serena shared with Gayle Williams post-match. “Really helped pull me through.”

On Wednesday, August 31st Serena will play along with her sister, Venus in an open doubles match.

The mother of one will also play Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit, the world’s No. 2, in the 64-player singles round. It will be their first professional encounter.

After initially having issues with her serve on Monday night, Williams defeated Kovini, a 27-year-old Montenegrin who is ranked 80th in the world, by winning 10 of the final 13 games.

At a ceremony honoring her tennis career after the match, Williams claimed that the enthusiastic crowd of around 24,000 spectators gave her a boost.

Several celebrities attended the match such as Mike Tyson, Queen Latifah, Anna Wintour, Spike Lee, and Bill Clinton.

“Really overwhelming,” Williams said. “I could feel it in my chest, and it was a really good feeling. It’s a feeling I will never forget and that meant a lot to me.”

Photo by: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Fans also commented online and congratulated the GOAT’s victory.

“Keep that serve going 🐐!!!! @serenawilliams #USOpen2022,” LeBron James tweeted.

Keith Boykin also stated that Serena is an inspiration.

“Serena Williams is such an inspiration.”

The 40-year-old recently revealed that she will be retiring from the sport earlier this month.

“I’ve been reluctant to admit to myself or anyone else that I have to move on from playing tennis,” Williams expressed. “Alexis, my husband, and I have hardly talked about it; it’s like a taboo topic. I can’t even have this conversation with my mom and dad. It’s like it’s not real until you say it out loud.”

Phone by: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

With 73 career singles titles, four Olympic gold medals, and 319 weeks at No. 1 in the sport, Williams, who started her professional career in 1995 at the age of 14, has subsequently established herself as one of the best athletes to have ever played the game.

She has won 14 major doubles titles, including one with her older sister. Venus has not commented on her future.

She was questioned about whether or not this tournament would be her last during her post-match news conference.

“Yeah, I’ve been pretty vague about it, right?” she expressed.

She continued.

“I’m going to stay vague because you never know.”

Williams’ husband, Alexis Ohanian, and their daughter, Olympia, were present for her singles victory.

Olympia had white beads in her hair like Williams did when she won the first of her six US Open championships as a teenager in 1999.

Photo by: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

“I look forward to waking up and just being like, OK, I don’t have to run to the court today,” Williams explained. “I look forward to just being a mom. She’s such a good girl. I just want to be a good mom to her.”

Congratulations, Serena Williams! 

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