Serena Williams unlikely to have ‘Cinderella happy ending’ at US Open, says Martina Navratilova

Serena Williams press conference

The Serena Williams farewell tour is unlikely to have a fairytale ending at the US Open with Martina Navratilova saying “it doesn’t look like she is going to make a miraculous comeback and win the tournament”.

Tennis icon Williams announced earlier in August that she would be “evolving away from tennis” and, although she never confirmed the US Open would be her final event, everything indicates that her appearance at Flushing Meadows will be her last as a professional player.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner has played very little tennis this year as her season only started at Wimbledon while she also played at the Canadian Open and Western & Southern Open, falling early in all three events.

Despite the lack of form and match practice, many are hoping the 40-year-old will end her spectacular 27-year career on a high in New York – the place where her rise to the top started as she won her maiden major there in 1999 – as a title win would see her tie Margaret Court’s all-time Grand Slam record of 24.

Talking points ahead of US Open: Serena Williams’ last hurrah, Emma Raducanu’s return, battle for No 1

However, former world No 1 and fellow tennis icon Navratilova doesn’t think there will be a Hollywood-style ending, although she doesn’t rule it out completely.

“Emotions can only carry you so far, I don’t see a Cinderella happy ending where she wins the tournament,” the 18-times Grand Slam winner, who is an ambassador for Sense Arena, told Reuters. “The way she has looked it doesn’t look like she is going to make a miraculous comeback and win the tournament.

“And with the stress of knowing this is likely your last tournament it doesn’t help.

“But if anyone can overcome it would be Serena.”

Williams made her announcement in a piece for Vogue magazine, but insisted she didn’t want too much fanfare on court, writing “I’m not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment. I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst.”

Yet in Toronto there was a short on-court flower ceremony and no one is quite sure what to expect at Flushing Meadows in terms of ceremonial, but there will no doubt be plenty of tears.

“It’s hard,” Navratilova said.

“When I retired in ’93 I told the press it was my last year which was a mistake because every single tournament was a freaking tear-jerker.”

She added: “Serena did it her way, which was announcing in a very glamorous way on Vogue magazine, but then she is not accepting the losses, she is not accepting what comes with it which is saying goodbye.”