Serena Williams loses 1st match since saying she’s ready to retire

Serena Williams misplaced her first match since telling the world she is able to depart skilled tennis.

Nobody is aware of precisely what number of extra matches Williams will play earlier than strolling away, and the 23-time Grand Slam champion exited the Nationwide Financial institution Open on Wednesday evening with a 6-2, 6-4 loss to Belinda Bencic.

“A number of feelings, clearly,” Williams mentioned, her voice shaking throughout an on-court interview.

National Bank Open Toronto - Day 5
Serena Williams of the US in motion towards Belinda Bencic of Switzerland throughout her second spherical match on Day 5 of the Nationwide Financial institution Open, a part of the Hologic WTA Tour, at Sobeys Stadium on August 10, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario

Robert Prange / Getty Pictures

“I want I may have performed higher,” she advised the followers. “Belinda performed so properly as we speak.”

The second-round match on the hard-court tuneup for the U.S. Open got here a day after the 40-year-old Williams introduced “the countdown has begun” on her taking part in profession, saying she desires to have one other youngster and pursue enterprise pursuits.

She didn’t state exactly what her final occasion can be, however did make it sound as if her last farewell may come on the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 29 in New York.

“It has been a reasonably fascinating 24 hours,” Williams mentioned after Wednesday’s match.

“I am horrible at goodbyes,” she mentioned, her hand on her chest, “however goodbye, Toronto!”

Williams, a three-time champion within the Canadian metropolis, began the match, fittingly sufficient, with an ace. Delivered one other later in that opening recreation, too, exhibiting off the excellent serve that helped her to so many victories.

However due to a leg damage that sidelined her for the final half of 2021 and first half of 2022, she was taking part in for less than the third time previously 12 months, and it confirmed.

It didn’t assist Williams that she was dealing with an opponent 15 years her junior and fairly gifted, in addition: Bencic is ranked twelfth, gained a gold medal for Switzerland on the Tokyo Olympics final yr and has been a Grand Slam semifinalist.

Bencic took dwelling the Toronto trophy at age 18 in 2015, when she eradicated Williams within the semifinals to earn the excellence of being the youngest girl to beat a participant many think about, as one selfmade poster within the stands declared Wednesday, the “GOAT” — the best of all-time.

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