"You want to keep her playing forever" - Canadian Open director on Serena Williams' imminent retirement

Tuesday, 16 August 2022 at 01:00
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Serena Williams kicked off her goodbye tour midway through her stint at the National Bank Open (Rogers Cup).
Williams announced what she referred to as her evolution – she has never liked the word retirement – away from tennis in a first-person essay for Vogue that was published after her first-round win in the tournament.
The farewell ceremony fit for a legend such as Williams did not have to wait much longer, though, as the 40-year-old 23-time Grand Slam champion bowed out to Belinda Bencic in the second round.
Williams, who is expected to retire after the US Open, then thanked and bid adieu to the sellout crowd of 12,500 fans.
Canadian Open tournament director Karl Hale said that Williams' impending retirement was both celebratory and sad, because one would like the American tennis great to "keep playing forever."
"It was celebratory. It was sad. Because you want to keep her (Serena Williams) playing forever. But that doesn't happen in sport," Hale said during a press conference.
"So, just happy that she was here. Because six weeks ago, I never imagined her and Venus (Williams) would be here."
He added that Williams was a "gracious person" as he recalled memories of the three-time Canadian Open winner.
"The memories with her, she's a three-time champion," said Hale. "She really supported our event throughout her 21-plus years of playing this. Really gracious person."
Williams is set to compete at the Western & Southern Open this week, before her final tournament at the US Open.

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