Serena Williams, at the age of 40, faces the most difficult obstacle in her injury recovery.
Serena Williams won’t be chasing a 24th Grand Slam singles championship at the US Open, but with her 40th birthday less than a month away, she’ll be embarking on maybe her most difficult assignment yet in bringing her career to a close on her own terms.
Williams announced on Wednesday that she will miss the hardcourt showdown in New York due to a torn right hamstring sustained in a first-round match at Wimbledon last month.
Williams announced her withdrawal from the US Open on Instagram, saying, “After careful deliberation and following the advice of my physicians and medical team, I have decided to withdraw from the US Open to allow my body to fully heal from a torn hamstring.”
Williams, who has one more Grand Slam singles title than Margaret Court, will be fighting back from injury at an age when most players have retired.
She is already the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam singles title, having won the 2018 Australian Open while pregnant at the age of 35 before taking a year off to give birth to her daughter Olympia.
She sustained a pulmonary embolism after giving birth and was bedridden for six weeks, but she fought her way back to world-class form, reaching the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018 and 2019, respectively, and hadn’t missed a Grand Slam match since her parenting leave.
Williams did not win a set in any of the four trophy matches, the last of which took place in New York shortly before her 38th birthday, making her the oldest female Grand Slam singles finalist in history.
Ken Rosewall became the oldest Grand Slam singles winner at the age of 37, and he was 39 when he reached the 1974 US Open final at the age of 39. Serena Williams would become the oldest man or woman in the world if she reached another Slam singles final.
At Wimbledon, Williams observed, “I feel like people can play longer.” “The way we see the game, the way we recover, the way our shoes are created, the way the equipment is made – technology has played a significant influence in that.”
“Because most people retire at 29, 30 – before that, 32 was the upper limit.” I believe there are a few of guys at that age that are just getting started.”
Williams won 10 Grand Slam championships in her 30s, winning at least twice in each of the four competitions, and was a runner-up six more times.
Williams is widely regarded as the greatest female tennis player of all time, regardless of whether she ever matches Court’s record.
“In my opinion, she’s the greatest female player who has ever played, and one of the finest athletes who has ever played,” US star John McEnroe remarked.
Under the tutelage of her father Richard, the lady who began playing against her older sister Venus at the age of 17 at Arthur Ashe Stadium in 1999 has won seven Australian Opens, seven Wimbledon trophies, three French Opens, and six US Open titles.
Last year, she lost in the semifinals of the US Open to Victoria Azarenka, and this year, she lost in the semifinals of the Australian Open to Naomi Osaka.
Williams has faced fresh generations of opponents who have raised their game anytime she appeared across the net from them for more than two decades.
“It has unquestionably improved me,” Williams remarked. “I’ve had a giant X on my back since I won the US Open in 1999.” It doesn’t matter where you play me that hard every single tournament, every single match, every single Grand Slam; you just grow better.”
When Williams was forced to leave the court at Wimbledon injured, she admitted she was “heartbroken,” but her spirits were buoyed by a roaring audience hopeful they hadn’t seen her final bow at Centre Court.
“Serena Williams has been completely dedicated to her recuperation, and we’ve done everything we can,” Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou said on Twitter. “However, her body isn’t prepared. It’s a difficult decision, but it’s the only one we can make.”
Williams has played a light schedule most seasons in order to extend her career.
She stated, “Playing the manner I did enhanced my career.” “I don’t think I could have played for as long if I had to play for a longer period of time.” All you have to do now is figure out what works for you and stick to it.”