Venus Williams has dismissed questions about a pending retirement after losing in the first round of the US Open as fans pondered whether they would see her again at a grand slam.
Williams, 42, entered the US Open out of the spotlight considering her sister, Serena, announced the New York grand slam would be her last tournament.
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The sisters, 14 times grand slam doubles champions, also announced they would team up in Serena's final tournament.
However, unlike her sister, Williams wasn't able to win her opening match as she fell to Alison Van Uytvanck 6-1, 7-6.
The 42-year-old made an Open Era record having appeared at 91 grand slam tournaments, 10 in front of Roger Federer, but wasn't able to mark the feat with a victory.
After the match, she dismissed talks of a retirement and said she was only looking forward to her next match.
"Right now, I'm just focused on the doubles," she said.
When asked about doubles, Williams said it was her sister that got the ball rolling.
"It was Serena's idea," she added.
"She's the boss, so I do whatever she tells me to do! I don't think we have played since 2016, but I might be getting that wrong. We have had some great wins.
"It would be nice to add some more."
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 30, 2022
Williams waved to the US Open crowd and was quick to leave the court, which sparked questions on whether the seven-time grand slam champion may have played her last match.
Fans were quick to praise the icon and hoped the tennis trailblazer would earn a fitting send-off if it were to be her last tournament.
Watching Venus Williams do her presser - what utter class, dignity, grace, & a powerful personality in her own right. I want her to have her OWN moment being honoured at the US Open & for all of tennis. It's beyond deserved. I worry it will fall through the cracks. 1/
— Greg Brady (@gregbradyTO) August 30, 2022
Venus Williams doesn't get nearly enough praise. She's 42 and still holding her own against opponents who weren't even born yet when she turned pro.
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️⚧️🇺🇦 (@cmclymer) August 30, 2022
— Nick McCarvel (@NickMcCarvel) August 30, 2022
Venus Williams really put out an entertaining match... Class from a legend
— Sparrow (@SparrowofLagos) August 30, 2022
No one has played more Grand Slam singles tournaments than Venus Williams 91 and next Roger Federer 81
— Ray Boyne (@AnalysisGaa) August 30, 2022
Serena Williams advances in US Open farewell
While Venus couldn't advance at Flushing Meadows, Serena battled to extend her farewell tournament for at least one more match.
The American champion was simply introduced as the 'greatest of all time' during her walkout to face Kovinic on Arthur Ashe Stadium in front of a raucous home crowd.
Despite her struggles of late, Williams started the match like a player possessed as she drew on the energy of the home crowd to race out to a 2-0 lead.
However, the 40-year-old's serve began to desert her as Kovinić grabbed her first break of the match to get back into the contest.
A double fault from Williams handed the World No.80 her second break as the Montenegrin turned an early deficit into a 3-2 lead.
Williams never looked back as she won the first set and broke early in the second to put her first round match behind her.
Williams will now face World No.2 Anett Kontaveit in the second round encounter.
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