Serena and Venus Williams Doubles Match: US Open Live Updates

When Serena Williams and Venus Williams played at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Thursday night, they added another line to their résumés: This is the first time a U.S. Open women’s doubles first-round match has been played at Ashe’s night game .

Often doubles matches, especially in the first round, are limited to smaller venues, and fans often wander between matches. USTA Billy Jean King’s prime-time stadium at the National Tennis Center’s largest stadium is a coveted spot — and the tournament isn’t shy about showcasing Serena Williams, who says the US Open is likely to be before her retirement Last time from playing tennis.

It would make sense for the U.S. Open to have Williams play the first game of the night game at the stadium with the most seats. This is your chance to sell the most tickets, get higher TV ratings and fill the surrounding plaza. For the wider tennis world, it was also an opportunity to attract new fans before she retired.

Jon Wertheim, an analyst and writer for Tennis Channel, said the challenge for the USTA will be to “turn all this goodwill into alchemy.”

“Take all this information about capturing and overthrowing conventional wisdom and diversity into a peak of engagement,” Wertheim said. “It’s been stated as ‘the secondary ticketing market is exploding’ and ‘this is great for TV ratings.’ But the real challenge is to translate this short-term uptick into real long-term growth.”

The U.S. Open has been vocal about her excitement for Serena Williams after winning her second-round singles match Wednesday night, when the tournament tweeted 31 exclamation points in an all-caps post Say “Serina has too much content”.

Given her recent retirement announcement, Williams acknowledged the celebratory sense of the game.

Credit…John Minchillo/Associated Press

“I was blocking everything most of the time, but at the same time I was accepting it a little bit because I wanted to enjoy the moment too,” she said. “I think these moments are obviously fleeting. It’s really a little hug for me, but also understands that I’m here to focus and give my best this time.”

Even some players were moved by the buzz around Williams. American Jessica Pegula, 28, said it was encouraging to see Williams in action after her second-round win against Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus on Thursday.

“If we don’t have a night’s game, we’ll all turn on the TV and watch it because we want to see what’s going on, what’s going to happen, how she’s playing,” Pegula said. “I feel like she’s just immersed in every minute, every second of being there, being Serena. I think it’s pretty cool to watch it.”

Lisa Delpy Neirotti, a professor of sports management at George Washington University, said that as Williams continues her performance at the U.S. Open, the tournament must “take advantage of the situation now that the stars have Go hand in hand, you can’t write a script that would have been better if you had tried.”

“As with any marketing bridge, you have to take advantage of every advantage, take advantage of every opportunity to promote your campaign,” says Nerotti. “Serena Williams is now a Cinderella story that every American loves, right? But it’s not just tennis.”

Danielle Allen, 30, who describes herself as a new tennis fan, flew in from Chicago this week for her first U.S. Open. While she doesn’t have tickets to watch Williams’ games, she hopes to watch her practice.

“Just a glimpse is great,” Allen said, sipping a mead in the plaza in front of Ashe Stadium. “She’s like our Michael Jordan.”

While men’s tennis has players like Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, women’s tennis won’t have a definite superstar after Williams’ retirement.

Ashley Barty, who has won three majors, is expected to fill the void. But in March, she shocked the tennis world by retiring at the age of 25. Poland’s Iga Swiatek, the current world number one, has won two Grand Slam singles titles, but it’s unclear whether she will maintain that success. Japan’s 24-year-old Osaka, who has won four majors since 2018, has struggled recently, including this one, where she lost in the first round.

A Morning Consult study of 2,210 Americans last month, including 1,513 self-described sports fans, found that with Williams retiring, about a third of Americans are “less interested” in women’s tennis .

Credit…Anna Watts of The New York Times

But Ellen said she would watch more tennis.

“In recent years, I’ve seen a lot of good new talent come out,” she said, citing 18-year-old American Coco Gauff as an example. “It’s great to see, especially for people of color.”

There may be a lull before a dominant force like Williams reemerges, but Wertheim said one will rise over time, aligning Williams’ retirement with Michael Jordan’s retirement from the NBA. Compare

“There will be some adjustment and marketing challenges, and there will be a few years of parity,” Wertheim said. “Eventually, another star will fill the void. Maybe not a star who has won more than 20 majors, but the sport will prevail. Always.”

Delpy Neirotti says tennis has lost its stars before, pointing to Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert, just for new stars to emerge.

“I don’t think tennis is going to die anyway,” she said. “It’s just a new generation.”

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