Serena Williams became the third tennis superstar to withdraw from the U.S Open in 10 days after Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
Could this be a possible way to a graceful exit from the court of tennis?
The U.S Open is considered to be the final grand slam of the year and Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal already withdrew from it due to struggling injuries. Serena’s withdrawal doesn’t come as a surprise as she has also aged and the last major grand slam she won was back in 2017 against her sister Venus Williams.
Williams will turn 40 in September this year and as John McEnroe, the ESPN commentator and the seven-times grand slam champion said “forty in tennis is like 65 in another job.”
Not many tennis stars get a perfect ending to their illustrious careers. As the game has been invaded by modernity, an immense hectic schedule, and relentless physical demands, it gets tougher to stay on top of the game and continue while age and stamina become one of the biggest obstacles in the road to success.
The amazing Steffi Graf won her last and 22nd grand slam title at the French Open in 1999 and played the Wimbledon final a month later. She suffered a hamstring injury the next month and chose to retire at the ripe age of 30. She stated that she just lost the motivation to play and stay at the top!
All the superstars of tennis more or less have the same ending. Either retire at their peak or leap as an aging player when new blood has taken the top position. At the moment Federer’s last appearance was at Wimbledon where he brutally lost a set of 6-0 to Hubert Hurkacz from Poland resulting in an injured knee.
Serena Williams still desperately wants to play and equate the 24 grand slam singles wins by any woman in history but the trust in her to achieve that goal has started to shatter as the injuries hampered her to even make it to the court.
Williams might not get a perfect storybook ending but she will be remembered as one of the greatest tennis players ever stepped on the court!