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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday August 10, 2022

 
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Serena Williams said goodbye to Toronto and shared special moments with a crowd that didn't want to see her go.

Photo Source: Getty

For someone who doesn’t pride herself on goodbyes, Serena Williams exceeded expectations on Wednesday in Toronto. The American tennis icon proved herself a master of the fond farewell and delighted her legions of fans north of the border, as she addressed them while on the verge of tears.

That's Serena in a nutshell, always smashing the expectations...

Tennis Express

“It’s just been so memorable. Like I said in my article, I’m terrible at goodbyes, but goodbye - Toronto," she told the crowd while on the verge of tears, clearly not wanting her playing days to end just yet.

Williams, who announced her impending retirement to the world in a self-penned piece for Vogue Magazine on Tuesday, wasn’t able to get past the talented Swiss to earn a trip to the round of 16 at the National Bank Open, but she did earn her first victory in well over a year, against Nuria Parrizas Dias in the first round, and leaves Canada with hope that she may do further damage next week at Cincinnati.

Bencic, the 2015 Toronto champion who will play Garbine Muguruza in the round of 16, quickly gave praise to Serena after the match, before allowing the American and her fans to savor the moment.


“Tonight was really special,” Bencic said. “Also for me it was quite overwhelming. I never imagined to play Serena so many times and it’s always an honor to be on the court with her, and that’s why I think tonight is about her, especially here in Toronto.”

Williams came to the mic and professed her love to the crowd, as her voice cracked and tears started to flow. She seemed to teeter on the precipice of an all-out cry, but didn’t allow herself the luxury of doing so. It could be a different story in Cincinnati or later this summer at the US Open, where she will likely play her final Grand Slam match with an adoring public ready to fill Arthur Ashe stadium with resounding echoes of her sonorous name.

For now the all-time leader in Open Era Grand Slam titles will aim for earning more victories on tour, just as she has always done. Even if they aren’t coming as easy as they used to, the 40-year-old proved that she is still in playing shape in Toronto – perhaps an even better performance is in store later this month.


“It was a lot of emotions, obviously I love playing here, I’ve always loved playing here,” Williams said, as she fought back tears flashed a smile. “I wish I could have played better but Belinda played so well today."

 

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