Former world No 1s Andy Murray and Andy Roddick hope Serena Williams’ farewell is a ‘celebration of her career’

Serena Williams in action

Serena Williams must soak in every moment of her final appearance at the US Open with fellow Grand Slam winners Andy Murray and Andy Rodick saying everyone should “celebrate her career” at Flushing Meadows over the next fortnight.

Tennis icon Williams announced on the eve of the final major of the year that the final curtain is about to fall on her career, which has spanned nearly three decades.

Over the course of the 27 years playing top level tennis, the American won 23 Grand Slams, spent 319 weeks atop the WTA Rankings, sits top of the WTA career-prize money all-time list and broke numerous other records.

Williams, however, has not been at the top of her game the past few years as she has played very little tennis with her last title coming in Auckland in January 2020. Since making her comeback from injury at Wimbledon this year, she has won only one match.

While most people would like to see the 40-year-old go out on a high, three-time Grand Slam winner Murray says it’s not about Williams’ recent form, but about her achievements over the last few decades.

“She has hardly played in the last few years,” he told The Guardian. “Expectations on her run should be very low. The celebrations of her career should be really, really high.

“When I first found out, I was sad about it, but at the same time, she will probably want this week to be about everything she has achieved, having a really nice send-off – more of a celebration than being really upset that it is the end.”

Fellow former world No 1 Roddick also feels Williams should enjoy her final moments in tennis.

“Having done it on a much smaller scale, it was one of my favourite weeks of my career when I retired at the US Open,” he told The Sporting News. “I’m a blip on the radar compared to this celebration that Serena has ahead of her.

“As a friend, I hope she takes in the innocent moments, the interactions with people that she won’t know the frequency with which she will see them. I hope she pays attention to that part and I hope she takes a look around innocently at the stadium and it’s packed and people are cheering for her and she soaks that in.”

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Although Roddick knows it is unlikely that Williams will be the last player standing in the women’s draw, he is hoping for a one last “thrill” at Flushing Meadows.

“It’s anyone’s guess how it is going to go,” he said. “I hope we get another thrill. I hope we get a dramatic three-setter where the crowd gets into it. But either way, I’m thankful she announced and let us in on the journey as we celebrate her career, which is what it should be.

“If it is first round, if it is fourth round, it is largely irrelevant as long as we can properly celebrate her place in the game, which is tough to put in the proper superlatives. If I know Serena, she’s thinking about one thing, and that is winning seven matches. I don’t know if that is possible. I hope it is. She ticks a little differently, which is why she has won 23 Grand Slams.”