The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion has left an indelible mark, not only in tennis but in all sports.
Tomljanovic won 7-5 6-7(4) 6-1 to advance to the top 16 of the US Open for the first time.
In an on-court interview with ESPN after the game, Williams was asked if she would reconsider her evolution from tennis, as she said.
“I don’t think so, but you never know,” she said.
In a tearful and joyous interview, she thanked her parents, saying she was very grateful to them for starting it all.
She attributes her success to her sister Venus Williams.
“I wouldn’t be Serena without Venus,” she said. “She’s the only reason Serena Williams exists.”
“I’m just Serena,” she said matter-of-factly, a line that will undoubtedly become one of the most memorable in sports.
The ability to find another gear and dig deep in the most difficult of moments has laid the foundation for Williams’ continued success on the tour for more than 20 years.
On Friday, she showed the same grit and tenacity as world No. 46 Tomljanovic.
Williams, widely regarded as the greatest women’s tennis player and arguably the greatest tennis player ever, beat five match points before hitting the ball into the net.
Considering her performance at the U.S. Open — winning just one game after returning in June after a year out with an injury — it’s fair to assume Williams’ first-round match against Danka Kovinic The match was nothing but an emotional farewell from tennis to the 23-time Grand Slam champion.
But as “Just Serena,” Williams produced her best tennis of the season so far, beating Covinic perfectly and extending her last dance in New York by a few days.
Then there’s Kontaveit, the world’s No. 2 and one of the toughest players on tour. The Estonian will provide a tougher test than Covinic and Williams, who undoubtedly entered their game as rather weak opponents.
Surely, after two glorious decades in his prime, will Williams’ career end here? of course not. After all, she’s “just Serena.”
In her three-set victory over Kontaveit, Williams took her tennis to a level that many thought she might never be able to reach again. The accuracy and strength of her serve for which she is known seems to have returned, as has her speed on the court.
Tomjanovic reached a career-high No. 38 this season and has some notable successes in 2022, including a quarter-final at Wimbledon and most recently the Cincinnati Open.
She was solid Friday as she had just 30 unforced errors compared to Williams’ 51.