Serena Williams has hinted at retirement after the US Open, but the 23-time Grand Slam champion wasn’t going to bow out in the first round.
Williams defeated Danka Kovinic at Arthur Ashe Stadium, 6-3, 6-3, on Monday night. The event featured a number of famous figures and big stars like former President Bill Clinton, who was sitting courtside with Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Gladys Knight, Queen Latifah, Mike Tyson, Martina Navratilova and Lindsey Vonn.
Spike Lee went out on the court for the coin toss, but the biggest highlight outside of the court was the tribute Williams’ daughter, Olympia, did for her mother, along with a tribute for her grandfather, Richard.
Billie Jean King spoke after, expressing her admiration for Williams, and Gayle King interviewed Williams. And while the tributes and gestures were deserved for one of the greatest athletes of all time, it had some fans wondering if there was belief Williams would lose in round one since the post-match festivities appeared to be a lot for just the first match. There will be a lot of pressure to top Monday night’s highlights if the six-time US Open champion continues to advance.
Williams will face world No. 2 Anett Kontaveit in the second round of the US Open. Her 47 wins over WTA top-2 players are the most by any woman since the WTA rankings were introduced in 1975, according to ESPN Stats and Info. Williams has won 22 of her last 24 matches versus WTA top-two players dating back to 2007.