From Spike Lee to her sister Venus, the final game of Serena Williams’ illustrious career may have been played in front of a crowd packed with celebrities . But for those who can’t get a ticket to Arthur Ashe Stadium on Friday night, there’s always Twitter.
Another who could claim to be the greatest athlete in the history of the sport of their choice was one of the first to congratulate Williams.
“You are literally the greatest on and off the court,” Woods wrote. “Thank you for inspiring us all to pursue our dreams. I love you missy!!!!!!”
Oprah Winfrey, who has followed the Williams sisters’ careers closely for decades, also paid tribute: “25 years. Champion. Sherro. Forever legend!” she wrote.
The 40-year-old met some of the most powerful people on the planet at the height of her sport. Michelle Obama reflects on life after Williams tennis in her tweet.
“Congratulations on an amazing career…how lucky we are to watch a young girl from Compton grow up to be one of the greatest athletes of all time,” the former US first lady wrote. So proud of you my friend – I can’t wait to see you continue to use your talents to change lives.”
Like Williams, Billie Jean King, who combines tennis with activism, has spoken about players’ lives off the court.
“Her incredible career has left a mark on tennis history. However, her greatest contribution may not yet come. Thank you, @serenawilliams. Your journey continues,” Kim wrote.
U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick talks about the pleasure he gets from watching Williams’ long career.
“Love you @serenawilliams,” he tweeted. “Watching you become what you have is the joy of a lifetime. Can’t wait to see what you do next. Thanks my old friend. “
Venus and Serena are credited with inspiring a generation of black players to play tennis. Coco Gauff, considered by some to be America’s next great player, talked about Williams’ influence on her and posted a picture of the player on her wall.
“Thank you, Serena. It is because of you that I believe in this dream,” the 18-year-old wrote. “You’ve affected me beyond any words that can be combined, and for that I say thank you, thank you, thank you, GOAT!”
NBA star LeBron James, one of the few American athletes to rival Williams, tweeted a tribute video.
“It’s been an honor to see you on your journey,” said the four-time NBA champion. “…I just wanted to thank you for being an inspiration to so many people.”