Michelle Obama and Tiger Woods lead tributes to Serena Williams: ‘I’m proud of you, my friend’

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Michelle Obama and Tiger Woods were among the scores of other celebrities who sent their tributes to Serena Williams after the former world number one played her farewell match.

The two-and-a-half decade long career of the tennis legend came to an end on Friday when she exited the US Open after putting up a brave effort against Ajila Tomljanovic.

Williams lost the game with a scoreline of 7-5, 6-7, 6-1 and is expected to retire after the tournament.

Praises poured in from all corners for one of the greatest athletes of all time whose career has had an impact on and off the court for 27 years.

The former First Lady led the tributes for Williams writing: “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,” she added.

Golf legend Tiger Woods called Williams the greatest on and off the court and thanked her for inspiring everyone to pursue their dreams.

The likes of LeBron James, Michael Phelps, Andy Roddick, and Coco Gauff also sent in their tributes to Williams.

Phelps called her “a great example to us all” while Gauff said “the impact you’ve had on me goes beyond any words that can be put together”.

Former world number one Billie Jean King wrote: “Her incredible career made its mark on tennis history. And yet her greatest contributions may be yet to come.”

Williams’s opponent on the day, Tomljanovic, also paid heartfelt tribute and called her the greatest of all time.

“I’m feeling really sorry just because I love Serena just as much as you guys do. What she’s done for me, for the sport of tennis, is incredible.

“I never thought I’d have a chance to play her in her last match when I remember watching her in all those finals, so this is a surreal moment for me.”

“I just thought she would beat me, so the pressure wasn’t on me. Even to the last point, I knew she’s in a position to win even when she’s down 5-1. That’s just who she is and she’s the greatest of all time. Period,” said Tomljanovic.

The 23-times Grand Slam winner was asked if she’ll reconsider retirement, to which she replied: “I don’t think so, but you never know!”