US Open tournament director Stacey Allaster jokingly revealed that the tournament had security personnel lined up in case Serena Williams tried to walk off the court like in Cincinnati. In Cincinnati, Williams suffered a 6-4, 6-0 loss to Emma Raducanu in the first round.
Cincinnati organizers had a ceremony planned for Williams, but she walked off the court, so it was all for nothing. After Williams defeated Danka Kovinic in the first round of the US Open, she had a special ceremony with Arthur Ashe.
«We were going to see how the cards played out. We saw how she (Serena Williams) played in Cincinnati against Raducanu and it wasn’t pretty. She just walked off the court. So we had our security in place, so if she lost, she didn’t he was walking off the pitch.
Even Gayle and Billy, standing there, so she wouldn’t go. Fortunately we didn’t have that moment,» Allaster said on ‘Courtside: The US Open Podcast,’ according to Sportskeeda.
Allaster: We made sure to give Williams a proper ceremony
In Toronto, Williams announced his plans to retire after the US Open.
US Open organizers had less than two weeks to prepare and plan a special ceremony for Williams, who became a Grand Slam champion at the 1999 US Open. «There were a lot of tears (after Serena Williams’ retirement announcement).
And how do we do this? How do we pay homage to the GOAT? It all came together very organically… We didn’t have those videos until a week before… We were very lucky that Oprah voiced it. We had Billy and Gayle there, we had the specialist card.
We only had the stunt card less than seven days in advance, but it worked out,» Allaster added. Before the tournament began, US Open organizers agreed that Williams’ special ceremony would take place after the first-class match. American round.
«We just said, win or lose, it’s a tribute. We can’t put the genie in the bottle. We have all these pieces, we can’t do it. What was so fantastic is that she won that night. I think for her, she brought that out, energy and nervousness.
She was still incredibly emotional, but she was able to absorb and take in the moment so much more. To hear Billie’s words and her conversation with Gayle, and the video, and the fans with ‘We heart Serena’. How perfect, right?» Allaster explained. Williams reached the third round of the US Open, before Ajla Tomljanovic handed her a three-set loss.