2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko called Serena Williams «an amazing champion» and thanked her for being a great role model for the younger generation of players. The 40-year-old Williams wrapped up her final campaign at the US Open after losing to Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round.
Ostapenko, 25, grew up watching Williams on television and hoping that one day she would be a successful tennis player. Ostapenko had a chance against Williams when the two met at the Billie Jean King Cup in 2020. Back then, Williams outscored Ostapenko in straight sets 7-6(4) 7-6(3).
«Serena Williams what an incredible champion you are and what an incredible athlete and person! Role model to so many of us. You will be sorely missed by tennis! I wish you all the best in the next chapter of your life,» Ostapenko wrote. on her Instagram story.
Ostapenko and Petra Kvitova pay tribute to Williams
Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova also shared a nice retirement message for Williams.
«You set the standard, then you raised the bar. You inspired us, you challenged us, you made us stronger. Thank you @serenawilliams, for everything you did for our sport. Tennis surely won’t be the same without you.» Kvitova wrote on Twitter.
Williams kicked off her last US Open with wins over Danka Kovinic and Anett Kontaveit. Just as the hype surrounding Williams began to build, she unfortunately lost to Tomljanovic in three sets. Although Williams did not cap her career with the US Open title, she did experience some memorable moments in her last tournament.
“There were some really cool moments today. Not today, but this week has been really great. So much support, so much love. It was really amazing and overwhelming. And I feel like the whole crowd really wanted to push me over the line. I’m very thankful and thankful for that,» Williams said after finishing her run at the US Open.