Serena Williams ends tennis career at US Open as a figurehead

EIt was just a fleeting touch, but it said everything there was to say at that moment. Billie Jean King was standing at the exit when Serena Williams left the field. She held out her left hand, made contact briefly, and nodded knowingly; a certain emotion in her eyes could not be overlooked. Serena Williams paused, and that look, too, reflected emotion, accompanied by the hint of an almost tender smile. The world of women’s tennis in one picture; those two without whom this sport would be different than it is today. The encounter lasted no more than two seconds and no word was needed. In the silence everything explained itself.

So now it’s over. Serena Williams will no longer be seen on the tennis courts of the world and one has to wonder how that will turn out. Not for themselves, because that’s pretty obvious. She had avoided the word resignation in her announcement in mid-August in an article for Vogue magazine. She never liked it, she wrote. “It doesn’t feel like a modern word. I thought about transition at first, but maybe it’s best if I call it development.”

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