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Serena Williams.                             Source: Tim Clayton – Corbis / Getty

Serena Williams bid farewell after the final round of her career during the U.S Open. After losing to Ajla Tomljanovic at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, New York, the Compton native gave an emotional speech full of gratitude.

“You guys were amazing today. I tried but I wish I’d just played little bit better,” she said. “Thank you daddy. I know you’re watching. Thanks mom…Everyone that’s here that’s been on my side so many years, decades oh my gosh literally decades. But it all started with my parents and they deserve everything so I’m really grateful for them.”

As she cried “happy tears,” she also thanked her sister, fellow tennis star Venus Williams.

“I wouldn’t be Serena if it wasn’t for Venus so thank you Venus,” she said. “She’s the only reason Serena Williams ever existed.”

She later told reporters that she knows she can continue her amazing career but she wants to focus on motherhood.

“It takes a lot of work to get here,” she said about the U.S Open. “Clearly, I’m still capable. It takes a lot more than that. I’m ready to, like, be a mom, explore a different version of Serena. Technically, in the world, I’m still super young, so I want to have a little bit of a life while I’m still walking.”

Throughout her 27-year career, he has won 73 Singles Titles,  23 Grand Slam Championships, four Olympic gold medals, 23 Doubles Titles, seven Australian Open Titles, three French Open Titles, six U.S Open Titles and seven Wimbledon Titles. She holds the longest streak as ATP/WTA number one player at 376 weeks. 

After playing her last match, she received many messages of congratulations.

“Congrats on an amazing career, @SerenaWilliams!,” Michelle Obama said on Twitter. “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.”

Track and field star Allyson Felix added, “I’m so grateful for @serenawilliams. What she has given this sport and us will never be lost on me. #ThankYouSerena.”

Williams’ bestie Ciara also shared some kind words about her legendary career.

“Thank you for the inspiration you’ve continually given us all! It has been a blessing to be a part of your incredible journey! The Goat, Icon, Best Competitor, THE Blue Print, and Best Mommy! We love you so much!”

Roland Martin also paid homage to her on social media.

“It’s over. We have witnessed the end of the career of the greatest woman to ever play tennis,” he tweeted. “@serenawilliams, your daddy called it. And you delivered. A little Black girl from Compton did it. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

Serena Williams is the definition of Black excellence and Black girl magic. Her career has been illustrious and she has solidified her place as one of the greatest athletes ever. Williams has also called out the racism and sexism she has endured while defying the odds for almost three decades.  She’s been a role model for most of my 32 years on this earth. Cheering her on has been a pleasure and an honor.

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