TRIBUTES have flooded in for Serena Williams after she brought the curtain down on her phenomenal tennis career.
Tiger Woods, Michelle Obama, Bill Gates and LeBron James were among the global superstars showing their appreciation.
Williams broke down in tears as she gave an emotional speech after bowing out on Friday night
Woods – who cheered on Serena from her players box on Wednesday – thanked Williams for ‘inspiring him to pursue his dreams’Credit: Getty
The 23-time Grand Slam champion ended a 27-year career to a standing ovation from 24,000 people at the US Open.
The 40-year-old fell to Ajla Tomljanovic 5-7, 7-6, 1-6 in the third round.
Tiger Woods was in Serena Williams’ box at her match on Wednesday night.
And he led the tributes on social media today for the tennis legend.
Tiger posted: “You’re literally the greatest on and off the court. Thank you for inspiring all of us to pursue our dreams.
“I love you little sis!!!!!!”
Michelle Obama posted her personal goodbye with a video of the icon leaving the court at Flushing Meadows.
She wrote: “Congrats on an amazing career, Serena Williams! How lucky were we to be able to watch a young girl from Compton grow up to become one of the greatest athletes of all time.
“I’m proud of you, my friend—and I can’t wait to see the lives you continue to transform with your talents.”
Bill Gates added: “What a run. Serena will be leaving behind an extraordinary tennis career that challenged the double standard between male and female players.
“I look forward to watching her continue building her amazing legacy off the court.”
The world’s top basketball star, LeBron James, left a heartfelt video farewell.
James said: “Wow, where do I start. First of all, I can start by just saying congratulations to you, to an unbelievable career. You’re a GOAT.
“What you have done for the sport of tennis, what you’ve done for women, and what you’ve done for the category of sport, period, is unprecedented. It’s been an honor to watch your journey.”
The tennis legend graced the court for the 1,014th and final timeCredit: Rex
The 12-time Wimbledon winner waved goodbye to the US Open crowd
Olympic champ Simone Biles wrote: “Thank you Serena Williams for transcending sports for black athletes, female athletes and every athlete. Such a pleasure to watch, thanks for being an inspiration.”
Across the pond, Brit F1 youngster George Russell Showed his appreciation for William’s incredible accolades.
He wrote: “Inspirational. Congrats on a phenomenal career.”
Williams, a mum of one, plans to “evolve away from tennis” now her Flushing Meadows jaunt is over just a few weeks before her 41st birthday.
This 7-5 6-7 6-1 three-hour loss means Williams finishes one major shy of Margaret Court’s record tally of 24 singles Slams that has stood since 1973.
Williams broke down in tears as she was interviewed on court and Tina Turner’s Simply the Best was played in the background.
She said: “Thank you so much, you guys were amazing. I tried. Alja played a little bit better.
“Thank you daddy, I know you are watching. Thanks mum.
“Everyone that is here, everyone that has been on my side, literally for decades, it all started with my parents.
“They deserved everything. I am really grateful for them. These are happy tears.
“I wouldn’t be Serena if there wasn’t (my sister) Venus. Thank you. She is the only reason why Serena Williams ever existed.
“To my husband, my daughter Olympia, everyone in that box, it has been a fun ride.
“It has been the most incredible ride and journey I have been on my life. I am grateful to every person that has said ‘Go Serena’.
“You never know, but I don’t think that I will be back.”
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