Serena Williams defeated Danka Kovinic of Montenegro in her US Open 2022 opener, 6-3, 6-3, in what could be her last professional tournament. In front of a packed stadium and in a shimmering, crystal-encrusted Nike gown (matching her daughter Olympia, of course), Williams put on her best show of the season to rise to the top.
The 23-time Grand Slam winner rode a roller coaster ride in the first set as she served, and probably overcame some nerves, given the high anticipation surrounding the match. Her serve became an important player in the second set as Williams began to assert her play. She had hit nine aces by the end of the match and gained momentum, feeding off the crowd and building on the quality of his own game.
“When I go out on the court, I just want to do the best I can on that particular day,” he said in a post-match interview with Gayle King. “The crowd was crazy! They really helped me get through it. I was really excited.” Speaking about his impending retirement, Williams said the decision was not an easy one. “When you’re passionate about something and you love it so much, it’s always hard to walk away. Sometimes I think it’s harder to walk away than not to, and that’s been the case for me,” he said.
The tournament has already served as a celebration of Williams’ storied career, which the 40-year-old will “walk away from” after the US Open, she told Vogue earlier this month. Her difficult decision was based on her desire to grow her family while she focused on her business projects. “I’m torn: I don’t want it to end, but at the same time I’m ready for what’s next,” she told the publication before showing off her continued skill and love of tennis in her performance today.
The win was especially notable given Williams’ recent struggles in the competition: his best end of this year it was a round-of-32 exit at the National Bank Open earlier this month in Toronto. She enters the US Open ranked No. 413 in the world, but she looked rejuvenated playing Kovinic, who is ranked No. 80 at Arthur Ashe Stadium, staying on the attack and channeling the confidence and power she has shown in her years at the top of the game. play. Next up for Williams: a tough match against world-ranked No. 2 Anett Kontaveit and her first doubles match with her sister Ella Venus, both on Wednesday, August 31.