Serena Williams' expected retirement will have to wait. The 23-time major champion won her first-round match 6-3, 6-3 at the US Open on Monday night against Danka Kovinic.
You know, I always have to do my best," Williams told the crowd after the match. “I feel very comfortable on this court, here in front of everyone.
"When I step on the court, I want to do my best on that particular day. That's all I can do."
Since Williams, 40, announced her impending plans to "evolve" from tennis in a first-person essay in Vogue earlier this month, she has been given a farewell tour of sorts and received standing ovations at both the Canadian Open and Western and the Southern Open. .
On Monday night, the sold-out crowd was about 24,000 -- which included former President Bill Clinton, Spike Lee, Lindsey Vonn, Bella Hasid, Rebel Wilson, Vera Wang, A-list celebrities and a laundry list of notables including Mike Tyson,
Dr. Ruth Wertheimer. , Gladys Knight, Martina Navratilova and even Coco Gough – even Williams was on her feet before she took the court.
After a video narrated by Queen Latifah showing a summary of her legendary career, Williams was introduced to the audience as "the greatest of all time" which continued during any breaks in the action throughout the match.
The reception was really overwhelming," Williams told reporters. "It was loud and I could feel it in my chest. It was a really good feeling. It's a feeling I'll never forget, so I really -- yeah, it means a lot to me.
It was Williams' 102nd win at Arthur Ashe Stadium -- the most by any player since it opened in 1997 -- and extended the record for Grand Slam wins by a woman to 366.
After the match, Williams was celebrated on court The ceremony featured appearances by Gayle King and Billie Jean King, as well as a "Thank You, Serena" video from Oprah Winfrey.