Williams lost to Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round of the US Open; the 40-year-old is anticipated to retire from competitive tennis after 27 years of professional tennis, during which time she won 23 Grand Slam titles.
Michelle Obama called Serena Williams “one of the greatest athletes of all time” as she competed in what was likely her final professional match.
She would go on to “transform lives” with her talents, the former first lady said as she led tributes to her friend and her “amazing career.”
Tiger Woods, Jennifer Hudson, and Oprah Winfrey were among the well-known figures to honor Williams as a “legend forever.”
The multi-Grand Slam champion was eliminated from the US Open competition on Friday night after losing to Ajla Tomljanovic in three sets.
Her past victories over Danka Kovinic and Anett Kontaveit had given fans hope that her swansong will have a fairytale conclusion.
Williams was defeated 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-1, despite a spectacular comeback in the second set and a boisterous crowd, thus there won’t be a record-tying 24th grand slam singles victory.
“Congrats on an amazing career, @SerenaWilliams!” Obama tweeted. “How lucky were we to be able to watch a young girl from Compton grow up to become one of the greatest athletes of all time.