One of sport's greatest ever legends has played her final professional match. Serena Williams bowed out of the US Open tennis tournament on Friday after being defeated in the third round. The 40-year-old showed her customary grit and determination in the gruelling three-hour match. The watching crowd stood and erupted in thunderous applause and an outpouring of love at the moment defeat arrived. "Happy tears" streamed down her face as Ms Williams showed her appreciation to the crowd and waved farewell. In her post-match interview, she said: "I just thank everyone that's here, that's been on my side so many years, decades…literally decades. But, it all started with my parents."
Serena Williams is arguably the greatest tennis player of all time. Her 23 Grand Slam titles, her 319 weeks spent as the world's number one, and her 27 years at the top as a professional are testament to that. However, her achievements have spread far beyond tennis. She has been an inspiration to girls worldwide. Former tennis great Billie Jean King said her "greatest contributions may be yet to come". Current American player 18-year-old Coco Gauff cited Williams as her hero. She said: "The impact you've had on me goes beyond any words that can be put together." Former United States First Lady Michelle Obama said: "I can't wait to see the lives you continue to transform with your talents."