US Open 2022 – Venus and Serena Williams’ doubles appearance was the final act of one of tennis’s most dominant duos

NEW YORK – Crowds oscillated between despair and brief elation on Thursday night when the game turned away from the Williams sisters.

Venus and Selena’s great moment was met with a cacophonous celebration. But it was when things went wrong that I betrayed my true feelings at this time.

Inside Arthur Ashe, there was a collective acceptance that the two would never be on the court together again.

As the Czech duo of Lucy Hradecka and Linda Noskova caught up, unforced errors and lost break points responded to murmured encouragement from the crowd, hoping their heroines would conjure up another tennis miracle. did. to give them another encore.

Unless she changes her mind, Serena has suggested she will be stepping away from the sport within the next 10 days. Venus’ immediate future is unknown. She has played a supporting role in Serena’s farewell tour in the shadow of her sister.

Serena’s two winning singles bouts at the US Open were played under the lights in an atmosphere akin to a boxing fight of a generation, but Venus’ defeat to Alison van Uytbank on Tuesday was a nightmare. It was done in the midday sun in front of half. – Complete Arthur Ashe.

There was no montage welcoming her, but no announcement regarding her future. I replied that I was just doing it.

“I think Venus deserves more recognition,” said one fan from Nebraska this morning to see her heroines. “But this was Serena’s tournament. Venus is a good sister.”

That’s her role for the past year. While her Venus has developed the business and continued her return to tennis, Selena has been pushing her own narrative about her future both in and out of the sport.

It was Serena’s call for the duo to play doubles here. “She’s the boss,” says Venus.

“I feel it was very important for her to be a part of this,” Selena said on Monday. “She’s my rock. I’m very excited to play with her.” I just do the same thing again.”

Of course Venus answered the phone. “We’re a big influence on each other and I’m a big influence on her,” Venus said earlier this week. I knew

“My role was to make sure it didn’t affect her, and I felt like this decision had to be all hers and her family’s.” Because obviously we are a family.”

“The most important thing is to do things on her own terms,” ​​Venus added.

i saw it on thursday. It was Serena who led them to practice. It was Selina who spearheaded the entrance to Arthur Ashe. But it was Venus who led them in the end.

There’s an inevitable nostalgia around these two, especially in this part of the world.While Venus’ proudest tennis memory may be at Wimbledon, the two are beloved here in New York.

A montage of snapshots of their lives, narrated by Questlove, played on the court before the sisters entered. , I did my best to stay focused. The montage tried to summarize the Williams sisters’ legacy in he 71 seconds. If Noskova’s attention had faltered even for a moment, she would have watched many videos of her life. By the time she was born in November 2004, her sisters had already won her 10 singles her Slam and her 6 doubles titles.

“This is a two-female wrecking crew,” Questlove said in a montage. “The impact they had on the game was huge. For 20 years she’d seen two great athletes who taught them how to be one of hers. were all lucky.”

Questlove finished with one last request.

For Selena, perhaps this is it. But Venus might do better. She’s been answering her questions about her retirement for years. Since her return to competitive tennis – her first return to competitive tennis in 11 months due to injury – was in mixed doubles at Wimbledon this year – the questions were about why she was back and how she was doing. I shifted to understanding what motivates me to continue playing tennis.Sports.

At Wimbledon, she watched the grass and Serena play and was motivated. On another occasion, she says she came back because of her love of tennis. , often uses the word “thank you”.

But this week there was that old steel determination.

Venus’ goal on Thursday was to “hold my side of the court and be a good sister.” The competitive fire has never been burning brighter for these two. They fell into a straight sets loss, but not through a lack of intensity, focus or desire. They faced a unit that played with precision and emotionlessness. Hradecka and Noskova sent the Williams sisters all over the court and deserved a 7-6 (5), 6-4 victory.

For a long time, the Williams sisters resembled their own Tour de France team. On other occasions they were sprinting against each other, one flying across the court and the other supporting her. Venus called it “an exchange of energy and an exchange of giving” on Tuesday.

With the Venus U.S. Open drawing to a close, it could help Serena get ready for Friday’s third-round match against Ajula Tomljanovic. Venus is put in her box as usual. Just like Serena did for her before, and will do so in the future.

Venus doesn’t feel ready to play tennis yet. At Wimbledon 2021, she said, “I’ll let you know when it’s my last match. I’ll whisper in your ear.”

Had she whispered on Thursday evening, the whole room would have listened in silence. This is the collective control the Williams sisters still have over their beloved public, who wanted one last performance of their greatest hits. Venus may be back next year, she’s already on one tour.

But when they waved to the crowd as they walked away from Ashe, it was an understated gesture that put the finishing touches on the final act of one of the most dominant collective forces in tennis.


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