Serena Williams won her first U.S. Open match on Monday night.
At the U.S. Open in 1999, Williams beat Danka Kovinic 6-3, 6-3 at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows, New York.
Williams, who is 40 years old, announced this month that she is retiring after dominating women’s tennis for decades and changing it. She has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles.
“As long as I’m here, keep supporting me,” Williams remarked.
NPR’s Tom Goldman said her booming serve, return of service, and athleticism established the bar for women’s tennis.
“Her early years in Compton, California, with sister Venus and dad ‘King Richard,’ now a movie star, became part of her legend and cleared the way for many young people of color to pursue what had historically been a white sport,” Goldman said. She also brought in more people of color.
Williams was getting ready to play on Monday when she got praise from players and fans, including a cover of Time magazine.
Williams won the 2014 U.S. Open singles title. She has a 20-0 record in U.S. Open first-round matches without dropping a set since 2001.
Williams is ranked 605th in singles and just returned from injury. Kovinic, 27, is rated 80th.
Howard Bryant, a sports analyst for Meadowlark Media, mentioned on Weekend Edition that Williams has only competed in four bouts so far this year and has only won one of them.
Bryant stated that regarding her chances of winning the U.S. Open, “She actually is, possibly for the first time in her life, an underdog.” But wow, if she could come to New York and pull off some magic, what a lovely fairy tale narrative that would be!”
After her career in tennis is over, Serena Williams plans to continue blazing new trails by putting her energy into expanding the venture capital firm that she established eight years ago.