tearful Serena Williams said she is “terrible at goodbyes”, as the first stop of her farewell tour ended in defeat at the Canadian Open.
Williams lost 6-2, 6-4 to Belinda Bencic in the second round in Toronto in her first appearance since announcing she is ending her glittering career.
“It was a lot of emotions,” Williams told the crowd. “I love playing here, I’ve always loved playing here.
“I wish I could have played better, but Belinda played so well. It’s been an interesting 24 hours. As I said in the article, I’m terrible at goodbyes. But, goodbye Toronto.”
Williams was welcomed onto court by a standing ovation and before the match a tribute video was played, featuring tributes from legend Billie Jean King, current rivals including Coco Gauff and Emma Raducanu, as well as ice hockey great Wayne Gretzky, plus highlights of Williams’ three previous triumphs in Toronto.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion wrote in Vogue that she was “evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me”.
Williams will play at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, as well as the US Open later this month, which is expected to be her final tournament.
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