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Serena Williams' US Open exit will be a swan song

by Martin Rogers
Fox Sports Columnist

The amount of writing was impossible to read Serena Williams' Don't envision a farewell to tennis and a fitting end, a triumphant scene at the US Open next month where he lifts the trophy, equaling the all-time Grand Slam singles record, and waltzes off for the rest of his life.

It will take a nostalgic and emotional trip for the ages to happen, seven wins on the hard court at Flushing Meadows, as the sporting public loses its collective mind.

If Williams wins enough to get her to the final weekend of the tournament, a journey filled with rising expectations and building momentum all the while, it will become the story of New York's summer, even with Kevin Durant's movement and football. The season is fast approaching.

It's almost certainly not going to go down that way.

When sporting greats stick around long enough, we lose track of the reality of what they are capable of. While they have achieved unimaginable goals many times before, even the most daunting goals no longer seem beyond them.

You don't need to have seen the recent movie “King Richard” to enter a game that's a drastic leap from the established order for a pair of young black girls from Compton, California — Williams and her older sister Venus. Synonymous with country club sheen and amass a ridiculous 30 Grand Slam singles titles among them.

Serena Williams accounts for 23, the first in a different millennium at the 1999 US Open. She currently trails Margaret Court on the all-time list, although 11 of Court's titles came at the Australian Open, at a time when that tournament was not often attended by the world's best.

It is here, barring some sort of fantastic miracle, that she will be matched with the status of the greatest female player of all time and a trailblazing story to go with it.

As much as the fan base would love another run, it's too much to ask. Williams turns 41 next month, has been a mother for almost five years and has the fatigue of a quarter of tennis in her legs.

She's up against younger, fresher, fitter women who are able to keep up with the kind of punishing training schedule that Williams has. Not even his talent, all the knowledge and experience and his trademark determination are enough to overcome such obstacles.

On Wednesday, Williams lost 6-2, 6-4 to world No. 12 Belinda Bencic in the second round of the National Bank Open in Toronto. “I'm terrible at goodbyes,” he told the crowd. “But goodbye, Toronto.”

A few more weeks, and it will see tennis off for good.

Williams is ranked No. 407 in the world, primarily because this is her first ranking points tournament since last year's Wimbledon. Her only win came against Nuria Parizas-Diaz in the first round this week.

He fights as hard as ever, and you can never completely dismiss a champion like that, but it just means that what's already happened is enough.

The idea of ​​an ideal farewell is ours, not his. Williams made this very clear in her essay in Vogue magazine. Mentally, he has already moved on. He talks about evolving away from tennis, but the evolution is already underway.

She wants to have more children and laments that a male athlete at the same age would not worry that such a desire would end his career. He has business interests and big ideas and family things to attack with enthusiasm, because that's how he lives.

He has already battled age which every athlete must deal with sooner or later. For the most part, he clearly won it. Beginning with the 2014 US Open, just when doubts about her continued viability at the very top were beginning to be cast, Williams ripped off a Grand Slam, winning six of the next 10 and never failing to reach at least the semifinals.

It will likely remain a source of frustration that he didn't explode the court number when he had the chance. She reached four Slam finals in 2018 and 2019 and was favored to win each of them, but fell short — losing to Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep at Wimbledon and Naomi Osaka and Bianca Andreescu in New York.

“The way I see it, I should have had more than 30 Grand Slams,” he told Vogue. “I had my chance after coming back from the maternity leave … but I just didn't get there.”

That's the closest Williams can come to admitting she doesn't expect to win the US Open this year.

At the best of athletes, in most cases, these days last longer. Early in Williams' career, he was viewed as a veteran in his mid-20s. With the men's Big Three of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, he perversely reshaped that perception.

She also redefined the sport in many ways, creating a position for female athletes and putting tennis in the American spotlight at a time when the country's dominance was waning.

The end of Hollywood is not coming because the story of Hollywood has already been written. Sometime next week, the final shot will be struck.

A career, statistically speaking, will end with a defeat. But forever, will be remembered as a victory.

Martin Rogers is a Fox Sports columnist and author of the Fox Sports Insider newsletter. YYou can subscribe to the daily newsletter here.



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