Serena Williams retirement sparks 'unprecedented' US Open mayhem

·6-min read
Seen here, Serena Williams roars in delight during her match at the Canadian Open.
Ticket sales for the US Open have gone through the roof since Serena Williams announced that she was retiring after the grand slam. Pic: Getty

Serena Williams' bombshell retirement revelation has sparked a flurry of activity from fans desperate to secure their tickets to see her play at the upcoming US Open.

The final grand slam of the year will also be the last chance fans have of seeing the American champion playing in a major tennis tournament.

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Williams sent shockwaves around the world after announcing that she was "evolving away from tennis" and plans to retire from the sport after the US Open, which begins at the end of the month.

Unsurprisingly, it has sent the American's legion of fans into a frenzy, with US Open tickets set to be the hottest item in town.

In fact, United States Tennis Association (USTA) spokesman Chris Widmaier told the NY Post that Williams' retirement has sparked what could be an "unprecedented" rush for tickets.

“You talk about the Serena effect, it’s like a tsunami,” Widmaier said.

“Since people have learned of the news, we’ve sold, as of 3pm (Tuesday), 13,000 tickets to the Open, including 4,500 or thereabouts for opening night.”

To put that 13,000 figure into context, Widmaier added: “That’s a spectacular day. In fact, it may be unprecedented.”

Even more unbelievable is the fact that Williams might not even be playing on the opening day, with the draw only revealed on the Thursday before the tournament gets underway.

Widmaier did point out that Williams has played on the highly celebrated opening evening a number of times across her glittering career.

If the mad scramble to secure tickets to see Serena play wasn't already bad enough, Widmaier revealed that $35 tickets for the upper deck at Arthur Ashe Stadium have already started popping up on re-sale sites for a staggering $7000.

The situation has sparked a frenzy of online reaction from Serena supporters who have either secured their tickets already or are desperately trying to do so.

Williams on Tuesday beat Spain's Nuria Parrizas Diaz to reach the second round of the Toronto Open, in what was just her second singles match in more than a year, following her first round exit at this year's Wimbledon.

The 40-year-old admitted after that match that she could see the light at the end of the tennis tunnel in her career.

"I have never liked the word retirement," Williams wrote in a Vogue article on Tuesday.

"Maybe the best word to describe what I'm up to is evolution. I'm here to tell you that I'm evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.

"A few years ago I quietly started Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm. Soon after that, I started a family. I want to grow that family."

Serena Williams bringing curtain down on amazing career

Williams won her last grand slam in 2017 and has been chasing an elusive 24th crown that will draw her level with Margaret Court who holds the record for the most majors.

She came tantalisingly close to achieving that feat, featuring in four major finals since giving birth to daughter Olympia in 2017.

"There are people who say I'm not the GOAT (greatest of all time) because I didn't pass Court's record, which she achieved before the 'Open era' that began in 1968," the former World No.1 said.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't want that record. Obviously I do. But day to day, I'm really not thinking about her. If I'm in a slam final, then yes, I'm thinking about that record. Maybe I thought about it too much, and that didn't help."

Seen here, Serena Williams with her baby daughter Olympia.
Serena Williams has revealed she'll retire after the US Open. Image: Getty

Williams later said in an Instagram post that it was time to move in a "different direction."

"That time is always hard when you love something so much," she added. "My goodness do I enjoy tennis.

"But now, the countdown has begun. I have to focus on being a mom, my spiritual goals and finally discovering a different, but just exciting Serena. I'm gonna relish these next few weeks."

Williams announced herself on the grandest stage by winning the 1999 US Open, a tournament she would go on to claim five more times.

In a storied career during which she dominated rivals like no other athlete, she also claimed seven Australian Open titles, three French Open titles and seven Wimbledon crowns.

Williams also owns 14 women's grand slam doubles titles with older sister Venus and has won four Olympic gold medals: singles (2012), doubles (2000, 2008, 2012).

with AAP

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