On Thursday (September 1), the US Open handed over Arthur Ashe Stadium to the Williams sisters for a first round doubles match that was scheduled during prime time. The match, which could have been Serena’s final tournament appearance, was ultimately lost by the Williams sisters to a Czech team consisting of Lucie Hradecka and Linda Noskova by scores of 7-6 (5) and 6-4.
The Williams sisters have won a combined total of 14 Grand Slam doubles titles, including two at the US Open. They recently played together for the first time in more than four years, and the occasion drew a capacity crowd to watch one of the most successful partnerships in the history of tennis take what could be their final bow.
The possibility that it was the last time the Williams sisters will compete side-by-side on the court together was met with a lack of sentiment or emotion when the match ended. The two legends shared a brief embrace at the net before solemnly packing their belongings, leaving to the sound of a standing ovation, and giving only a slight wave to the applauding crowd as they departed.
In an essay for Vogue that was published at the beginning of August, Serena hinted that she was about to retire by claiming that she was “developing away from tennis.” However, she never explicitly stated that the US Open would be her last tournament.
But Flushing Meadows has not seen the last of Serena just yet, as the 40-year-old will be back in action on Arthur Ashe on Friday for a match against Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia in the third round of the singles competition. This match is highly awaited.