Serena Williams retirement: Greg Rusedski not discounting ‘box office’ Serena to retire on a high at US Open
A great champion, the greatest tennis player of all time, a complete athlete and box office are just some of the ways that Greg Rusedski has described Serena Williams following her announcement that she is to “evolve away from tennis”.
In a piece for Vogue, 23-time Grand Slam winner Williams confirmed that she is to hang up her racket after this year’s US Open, although she admitted that she is not yet sure if she will be fit and ready to compete in New York.
The announcement didn’t really come as a surprise to the sporting world as the former world No 1 has played very little over the past two years. Last year she took part in only six tournaments as she injured her ankle during the first round at Wimbledon while so far in 2022 she has played only two singles matches – the last a two-set win in the opening round of the Canadian Open on Monday.
The 40-year-old, though, will not only go down as a tennis great, but as one of the greatest ever athletes as she – along with her sister Venus – transcended tennis.
Williams won 23 Grand Slams – the most in the Open Era and one behind Margaret Court’s overall record – while she also spent 319 weeks at the top of the WTA Rankings and won nearly $95 million in career prize money.
“No question about it, she is the greatest male or female tennis player at the moment. She has the most majors in the Open Era, you’ve got to look at the depth of the game and the generation she’s gone through as well,” former British No 1 Greg Rusedski told Sky Sports News.
“Maybe she doesn’t have the record of 24, but what she’s accomplished as well as her back story to achieve what she’s achieved. No question about it. She is a complete athlete.
“She’s box office. She’s carried women’s tennis for the last two decades with her sister Venus as well, you’ve obviously had other great players around them, but she brings your non-tennis fan to the sport.
“If you know absolutely nothing about tennis, you know the name Serena Williams. She’s iconic and we’re losing an icon of our sport and she will be truly, truly missed.”
After her trip to Toronto, the American is expected to compete at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati next week before bringing the curtain down on her glittering career at the US Open, a tournament she has won six times.
Although Williams has struggled with injury and form, Rusedski believes she could end her career on a higher at Flushing Meadows.
“You can’t go on forever, I mean you’ve got to think about it, the first Slam that she won was in 1999 which is 23 years ago. That’s an incredibly long career and it is impressive,” he added.
“Never discount a great champion. The players are starting to beat her because she hasn’t had enough tennis but she’s got the greatest serve of all time in the women’s game, no question about that.
“If she catches a hot streak, she could retire in the same way that Pete Sampras did by winning his last major he ever played in, which was the US Open in 2002. So, don’t discount Serena or great champions at their peril.
“I think she has one [major win] in her in New York. It was great to see her win her opening match in Canada and if she can get on a roll a little bit, win a few matches and get a little bit of momentum, anything can happen. Let’s not forget, she’ll be on Arthur Ashe stadium for every match she plays and when you have 20,000 people cheering every ball it’s very daunting for your opponent.”
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