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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday August 11, 2022

It has been two days since news of Serena Williams impending retirement has broken, and there have been some incredible, heartfelt reactions from players at the National Bank Open in Toronto. Here is a collection of some of the best reactions to Serena’s announcement.

Tennis Express

Emma Raducanu

“I mean it's incredible her career. She has achieved so much. And to see her around in this U.S. swing is really inspiring. Like she keeps playing because she obviously loves the game. And I think that longevity of a career is something that a lot of the players – and me especially – we aspire to achieve as well.”

Q. What kind of a legacy will she leave in tennis for other tennis players?

“I think that she definitely changed the game. To dominate that much, I think that it was, well there's not really been someone who has dominated like her in the women's game. So I think she did change the game a lot in that respect.”

Iga Swiatek

"I feel like I could talk for 30 minutes about that. She's such a legend. And I'm pretty sad on one hand that I wasn't able to kind of play against her. And maybe I'm going to have a chance. But to kind of be on a tour where she was, you know, winning everything. But on the other hand I would probably be the player that loses in quarterfinal against her, so I'm okay with that.

"Yeah, I mean, her legacy and basically, looking just at numbers, everything that she has done, but also off court and being such a superstar. Being able to kind of do business and tennis at the same time, but also be a mother and play well and do four Grand Slam finals. It's amazing. I think that it's a pretty, I think nobody is going to repeat that, you know?

"So I would be happy to have that belief that maybe I can do that. But it's Serena, you know, and she won so much that it's amazing."

Simona Halep

“It was an honor, actually, to play so many matches against her and to share the locker room with her, to share the court,” Halep said. “It's always she's been an inspiration for everybody and for me too. I said this always. I admired her, you know, the power to stay there so many years, to win so much.

“And she's 40 and she's still like fighting for the match. It's unbelievable.

“We're going to miss her, but I think she has many other things, important things in life to go through. So I think it's time to, yeah, it's time to stop tennis because she has a life ahead. And she's done unbelievable things in tennis and is going to be the best for all, like forever, I think. Nobody's going to touch the level that she touched.

“Every time I played her it was a moment that I had to learn some things. And I always was trying to take some things from her. She's super professional, super like confident on the court. Super dominant. I think, yeah, she has so many qualities as a player.

“And I remember 2013 when I played against her in semis in Rome. She killed me. But that year she didn't lose a match on clay. So she was the only one who dominated tennis for a few years in a row. And I think that that's not going to happen again.”

Leylah Fernandez

“It's, honestly, it's very sad news. She's an icon, she's a legend. The sport needs her. She's done incredible things for not only tennis but also for women. She gave us a path to follow. And I feel like a lot of us see her as a great role model. And that we know that she's done incredible things and we just want to try to reach that. She's a legend.

“And then afterwards I know that she's making a decision for herself and we just got to trust that she's going to do the right things. I'm sure that hopefully maybe she can come back on sport and hopefully help us help the younger generations. I'm sure she's just going to be great, great role model, even away from tennis.”

Bianca Fernandez

“I'm a little sad. Because when I was a kid she was the only one I ever really watched and enjoyed watching. She kind of inspired me to be a bit more fiery on court and accept that I have emotions.

“But, you know what, she's a legend, she's done so much for the sport. She has inspired me. She has inspired so many girls, boys, adults, all sorts. She has a family. She has stepped into a different part of life. And it's all her decision and I wish her luck in whatever she does.

Coco Gauff

“I knew it was coming eventually. I didn't know if it was going to be this US Open or the next one. But, yeah, definitely, well, not really shocking but almost shocking news. Because she's just been playing forever, my whole life.

“I don't know, a little bit sad because I have always wanted to play her. So I'm hoping that my draw in Cincinnati or US Open or even here can work out so we can play each other. Because that's just one of my goals.

“But I think the legacy that she's left on the world, just through tennis, I mean she still has, I mean, she's not dead (laughing) but people are talking about it like she's dying. No, no, she's just moving on to different things. But the legacy that she's left through her tennis career is something that I don't think any other player can probably touch. I think that the legacy that she will continue to leave throughout her life is something that can inspire many more generations.”

Q. As a young woman did you grow up admiring her and watching her and what did she mean to young Black female players trying to learn the game?

“Yeah. For me, I grew up watching her. I mean that's the reason why I play tennis. Tennis being a predominantly white sport it definitely helped a lot. Because I saw somebody who looked like me dominating the game. It made me believe that I could dominate too.

“Then my dad, I think her whole story, the Williams sisters story, not just Serena, with Mr. Williams and all that he's done for both of them inspired my dad to continue to coach me and help me. Even though he had not really much tennis experience. But he was like, If Mr. Williams can do it, then I can. And I think it's not so much just what Serena and Venus has left it's also the whole Williams family in general.”

Bianca Andreescu

“I feel honored to have gotten that opportunity to play her and even connect with her in some way. I heard that when I was doing a radio interview this morning. I was absolutely shocked. Because I just woke up and I get that and I'm like, What? Because you know that at one point she's going to retire. But when she actually, you know, is going to announce it, it's just shocking. Because you think these kind of players will play forever. I mean I think she's 40 now?

“But she's done so much for the sport, for women's tennis. I think right now she said she's focusing on a new chapter in her life. So I'm happy for her.”

Belinda Bencic

“Of course it's super nice, but today it's a little bit more sad in a way. I don't really want her to retire. I feel like I've always, in a way you know what she's achieved and everything, all her legacy and career and everything. But now that it's soon to be over I feel like people, and me included, are realizing it even more.

“So it's like, yeah, just standing on the court against her today was just, yeah, really overwhelming, I would say. And also the first time or the first time I beat her here was also really nice. So it's going to be incredible memories for me.”


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