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Williams (6-3, 6-3) defeated Danka Kovinic in Round 1 singles on Monday (August 29), and her husband Alexis Ohanian, daughter Olympia, and the iconic Billie Jean King at her side on the center court following her win.
The 23-time grand-slam singles title winner announced earlier this year that she’s “evolving” away from the sport, meaning this game could’ve been her final one. The potential to see Williams dominate on the court one last time brought out A-listers, politicians, and big-name celebrities to the game, including Hugh Jackman, Spike Lee, Bill Clinton, Anna Wintour, Anthony Anderson, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Lindsey Vonn, Rebel Wilson, and retired tennis legend Martina Navratilova.
As Gayle King interviewed Williams after her victory, the renowned journalist tells the player, “Before you go, we have one more surprise for you.”
That’s when 24,000 fans raised colored cards in unison, spelling out “We [Love] Serena” in the crowd.
“Oh my god!” a smiling Williams responds, crystals sparkling in her hair. After the ceremony, she does a twirl as thanks.
The U.S. Open made sure to prepare a proper “send-off” for the legendary player, even though she’s continuing to Round 2. She’ll be facing off against either Jaqueline Adina Cristian or the No. 2 seeded Anett Kontaveit on Wednesday (August 31).
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