Celebs are rallying around Serena Williams after she played and lost what is likely her final pro tennis match of her career.
On Sept. 2, the athlete, considered the greatest female tennis star of all time, exited the 2022 U.S. Open Sept. 2 after a 7-5 6-7(4) 6-1 third-round loss to Ajla Tomljanovic, the 46th ranked Australian player. The match took place almost a month after Serena wrote in a Vogue essay that she plans to say goodbye to the sport and has been trying to have a second child.
When asked at a post-game press conference what would it take for her to return to tennis, she said, "I don't know. I'm not thinking about that...Clearly, I'm still capable but it also takes a lot more than that. I'm ready to like, be a mom, explore a different version of Serena."
The 23-time Grand Slam champion, mother of daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., 5, added, "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." The 40-year-old later said, "I think that I'm definitely, probably going to be karaoke-ing tomorrow."
Read how celebs sang Serena's praises:
In her Vogue essay, Serena wrote that this spring, she sought advice from the golf champion about her tennis career. "I said, 'I don't know what to do: I think I'm over it, but maybe I'm not over it,'" she said. 'He's Tiger, and he was adamant that I be a beast the same way he is! He said, 'Serena, what if you just gave it two weeks? You don't have to commit to anything. You just go out on the court every day for two weeks and give it your all and see what happens.'"
Michelle Obama tweeted, "Congrats on an amazing career, @SerenaWilliams! How lucky were we to be able to watch a young girl from Compton grow up to become one of the greatest athletes of all time. I'm proud of you, my friend—and I can't wait to see the lives you continue to transform with your talents."
Tennis star Coco Gauff tweeted, "Serena, THANK YOU. It is because of you I believe in this dream. The impact you've had on me goes beyond any words that can be put together and for that I say thank you, thank you, thank you, GOAT!"
Retired tennis star and former U.S. No. 1 player Billie Jean King tweeted, "Her incredible career made its mark on tennis history. And yet her greatest contributions may be yet to come. Thank you, @serenawilliams. Your journey continues."
In her Vogue essay, Serena wrote that she hoped "people come to think of me as symbolizing something bigger than tennis," adding, "I admire Billie Jean because she transcended her sport."
Soccer star Alex Morgan tweeted, "Serena fighting until the last point, always. You've given so much to tennis, and so much to womens sports. Thank you @serenawilliams."
Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes tweeted, "Thank you! #Serena," adding a tennis player emoji and three goat emojis.
Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps tweeted, "It's truly been fun to watch Serena not only change the sport of tennis, but more importantly, how she's helped empower the next generation. Her tennis accomplishments speak for themselves, but one of the things I admire about her is she simply doesn't quit. On or off the court...her will, her strength, her determination…she simply never gives up. She's a great example to us all. Congrats and thank you, Serena!!"