Despite suggesting this year's US Open will be her final tournament before retirement, Serena Williams said "you never know" after her first round victory against Danka Kovinic.
The 23-time grand slam winner was made to work for the win, but strong support from the crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium helped Williams over the line in a 6-3 6-3 success on Monday.
In a recent interview with Vogue Magazine, Williams indicated she was ready to move on to the next stage of her life, signalling an intent to bring her decorated career to an end after the event at Flushing Meadows.
Asked about her intentions during the post-match press conference, Williams said while smiling: "Yeah, I've been pretty vague about [retirement], right? I'm going to stay vague because you never know."
Williams credited the atmosphere, admitting it meant a lot to her to have such a strong following against her Montenegrin opponent.
"I think when I walked out, the reception was really overwhelming. It was loud and I could feel it in my chest. It was a really good feeling. It's a feeling I'll never forget, so... yeah, that meant a lot to me," she said.
"I was just thinking, like, 'Is this for real? Really?' At the same time, I'm also thinking 'I still have a match to play and I want to be able to play up to this reception almost.'
"It was so loud. I just was overwhelmed, in a good way. But at the same time it's like you have to be focused, you have to be laser-focused. That's what I needed to do and that's what I tried to do."
The 40-year-old plays number two seed Anett Kontaveit in the second round on Wednesday, and she did go on to seemingly confirm she intends to hang up her racquet once her tournament is over.
"The more tournaments I play, I feel like the more I can belong out there," she added. "That's a tough feeling to have, and to leave knowing the more you do it, the more you can shine.
"But it's time for me, you know, to evolve to the next thing. I think it's important because there's so many other things that I want to do."