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.
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. pic.twitter.com/VWONEMAwz3
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) September 3, 2022
Golf legend Tiger Woods called Williams the greatest on and off the court and thanked her for inspiring everyone to pursue their dreams.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 3, 2022
I love you @serenawilliams It’s been the pleasure of a lifetime to watch you become what you have. Can’t wait to see what you do next. Thank you my old friend
— andyroddick (@andyroddick) September 3, 2022
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”.
her will, her strength, her determination…she simply never gives up. She’s a great example to us all. Congrats and thank you, Serena!!
— Michael Phelps (@MichaelPhelps) September 3, 2022
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! pic.twitter.com/qeNZlC05WJ
— Coco Gauff (@CocoGauff) September 3, 2022
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.”
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. #serena #USOpen https://t.co/0wDFfRN3Dq
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) September 3, 2022
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!”