US Open officials have come under scrutiny after viewers pointed out that Serena Williams' opponents have been made to nervously wait for the 23-time grand slam champ's montage before matches.
The US Open has turned into a celebration of Williams' career after the 40-year-old announced the New York slam would be her last tournament.
Williams was treated to a highlights package of her career, before she took to the court, in the first round as her opponent sat patiently in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
All eyes were on Williams again as she faced the No.2 seed Anett Kontaveit in the second round.
And viewers pointed out that Williams was again granted the opportunity to walk out second, despite having the lower ranking.
While not many fans will complain about giving Williams the chance to walk out second, which is normally granted for the higher ranked player, the delay did spark criticism.
Kontaveit was forced to watch a two minute montage of Williams' feats as she sat nervously waiting for her opponent to enter.
The Estonian already knew a boisterous crowd would be cheering on every point Williams won in the encounter.
And some claimed it was 'disrespectful' of US Open officials to make Kontaveit wait in an unprecedented move.
Others said Williams deserved her moment in the spotlight after a sparkling tennis career.
Serena Williams is back on Arthur Ashe. Less of a show tonight, but still a montage before she walks out, played with Anett Kontaveit sitting on court waiting nervously for a full two minutes.
Not fair, IMO.#USOpen
— James Gray (@jamesgraysport) August 31, 2022
Once again, US Open organisers bringing Serena Williams' opponent out onto the court (in this case, the second seed Anett Kontaveit) before playing a montage. Very disrespectful.
— Stuart Fraser (@stu_fraser) August 31, 2022
There is nothing disrespectful about honoring the greatest athlete to ever pick up a tennis racquet on the biggest stage there is 😅
— Wasi (@iWasii) August 31, 2022
Kontaveit is no. 2 in the world. Definitely disrespectful.
— Rafa Nadal's Baby (@TennisEsVida) August 31, 2022
They can get a montage too once they’ve done what she has
— Zach Ausmus (@zachausmus) September 1, 2022
Regardless, the montage added to the electric atmosphere on Arthur Ashe Stadium as Williams defeated Kontaveit 7-6, 2-6, 6-2.
Serena Williams victory sends fans wild
The crowd was littered with celebrities as Williams lifted her game against World No.2 Kontaveit.
Williams was keeping the points short against Kontaveit with her trademark groundstrokes and the pair ended up in a tense first set tiebreak.
However, Williams held her nerve to send the home crowd on ballistic.
The broadcast even spotted 15-time major winner Woods leaping out of his seat in support of the 23-time grand slam champ as she took the first set.
Williams wasn't able to repeat the feat in the second set as Kontaveit raced away 6-2 to level the match.
However, with the home crowd willing her on, Williams once again showed her trademark grit and secured at least one more match in a fairytale career.
Williams will now face Aussie Ajla Tomjlanovic in the third round.
And in her post-match interview, the 40-year-old once again hinted that the US Open might not be her farewell tournament after all.
“I’m not in any rush here (to leave),” Williams said in her on-court interview.
“I’m loving this crowd, and there’s still a little left in me. We’ll see.
“This is what I do best, I haven’t played many matches but I have been practicing really well.
“The last couple of matches in New York it’s really come together.”
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