Serena Williams was afforded a standing ovation after her loss to Emma Raducanu at the Cincinnati Masters but stunned fans after opting to head down the tunnel instead of staying around for an on-court interview.
Britain's defending US Open champion looked sharp as she swept pass the 23-time grand slam champion in brutal fashion 6-4, 6-0 in just one hour and five minutes.
Raducanu was all class after the victory having admitted she was nervous taking on tennis royalty in facing Williams in what is one of the last matches in an illustrious career.
However, fans noticed a stark difference from Williams' farewell moment last week at the Canadian Open when the American stayed on-court for an emotional farewell interview for the adoring fans.
This time, Williams shook hands with the 19-year-old at the net and waved to the crowd before heading down the tunnel.
The adoring American crowd applauded Williams in what will be her last competitive appearance in Cincinnati.
Williams admitted last week she was terrible at goodbyes and clearly was overwhelmed at the moment and opted to forego another tough interview.
Some pointed out that Williams doesn't owe an on-court interview and that the US Open will serve as a huge farewell celebration.
Williams also opted not to hold a post-match press conference.
However, the 40-year-old also skipped the press conference in Toronto last week following the announcement she would retire after the US Open.
Unsurprisingly, Serena Williams not doing a press conference tonight at #CincyTennis. (She hasn't done one since her retirement announcement.)
Serena didn't do one after her loss at Toronto either, though there she did stay on court for a planned ceremony, unlike here tonight.
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) August 17, 2022
Wow. I was hoping she’d say something.. So many loyal fans.
— Sammy P (@samseles) August 17, 2022
Emma Raducanu with the perfect deferential interview after the gentle on-court destruction.
With Serena Williams retiring in a couple weeks, the sport could really use a Raducanu or Coco Gauff upgrade to permanent elite status right about now. https://t.co/u2IL9AFEzS
— ᒍᕮᖴᖴ ᔕIKᕮᔕ🎾 (@JeffSikes) August 17, 2022
#CincinnatiOpen Well done #EmmaRaducanu! Tactically astute to beat #SerenaWilliams 6-4 6-0 in their 1st & possibly last meeting professional tour match. Understandably disappointed, Williams declined on-court interview. Was down the exit corridor within a minute of shaking hands. pic.twitter.com/04EX1ZAmes
— CJ 🇺🇦 (@cjharry) August 17, 2022
Absolutely. Serena gets to exit this stage on her terms. She doesn't owe anyone an interview or a tearful farewell. The Queen was gracious and left the arena. 👑🐐 https://t.co/gPRCzVroAV
— Jen Flintstone (@chimpjen) August 17, 2022
Williams showed her classic determination to briefly fight back from 4-1 down in the first set.
The crowd rallied behind the champion with fellow tennis player Naomi Osaka cheering on her childhood idol in the crowd.
But the 40-year-old was unable to catch Raducanu in the opening set.
Raducanu then lifted her game in the second to swiftly close out the match 6-4, 6-0.
The Cincinnati event was the second US Open tune-up for Williams, and the next time she takes the court will be at Flushing Meadows.
Serena lost to Belinda Bencic in straight sets last week in Toronto.
All eyes will be on Williams at the US Open and who she draws as her first round opponent at the grand slam.
Emma Raducanu all class in Serena Williams tribute
While Raducanu admitted she was very nervous ahead of her first match against Williams - during her farewell tour - the 19-year-old showed her class in the on-court interview.
Raducanu paid tribute to Williams in her post-match interview and hailed the 23-time grand slam champ's unprecedented career.
"I think we all need to just honour Serena for her amazing career," Raducanu said.
"I'm so grateful for the experience to be able to play against her and for our careers to have crossed over.
"Everything she has achieved is so inspirational and it was a true honour to share the court with her."
Williams was already World No.1 when Raducanu was born in November of 1992.
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