Serena Williams’s run at what was expected to be her last professional tennis tournament came to an end Friday night at the 2022 U.S. Open. The 23-time Grand Slam champion lost in three sets against Australian Ajla Tomljanović in arguably one of the most gutsiest matches of her storied career.
When asked after the match of this was indeed the end, Williams joked that she “always did love Australia,” eluding to the 2023 Australian Open in January. But quickly added, “I don’t know. I’m not thinking about that. Clearly, I’m still capable. It takes a lot more than that. I’m ready to, like, be a mom, and explore a different version of Serena. Technically, in the world, I’m still super young, so I want to have a little bit of a life while I’m still walking.”
While the G.O.A.T. explores her next steps off the court, Sports Illustrated looks back her amazing career in photos.
Serena’s first professional event was in October 1995. She went on to make her first rotation in the Grand Slams in 1998.
Serena, Venus … Venus, Serena
Serena said “there is no Serena without Venus” after her third-round loss Friday night at the U.S. Open. The sisters changed the game and faced each other 31 times over their careers, including in nine Grand Slam finals. Serena and Venus also posted a 14-0 career record in Grand Slam doubles finals, a record that will likely stand the test of time.
Serena has had some memorable moments at Roland Garros, from falling in love with the fashion capital that is Paris, to facing criticism from French Open officials over her black cat suit that Williams said she wore to help with circulation issues. In her post-match press conference Friday, Williams said one of her greatest moments was a few years earlier at the 2015 French Open. “That is definitely the one that I’m taking with me because I almost died in that event. Somehow I won. So that was pretty awesome.”
Seven of Serena’s 23 Slam singles titles came on grass, along with the six doubles titles she took home with Venus.
Her home court. Her biggest stage. The U.S. Open is where Serena had some of her most memorable moments, for better or worse. But there was no better court for her to receive what is expected to be her final professional sendoff than at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Of course Serena dominated for Team USA, too.
Along with her own clothing and jewelry lines, Serena has continually set the tone with her fashion, on and off the court. Here are a few off-court portraits from exclusive photo shoots with Sports Illustrated.
Serena: The Sports Illustrated Covers
Here is the collection of Serena Williams/Sports Illustrated covers from the past 25 years of her career. Click on each photo to read every Cover Story from the SI Vault.