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Venus and Serena Williams’ withdrawal from the doubles competition at the US Open in 2022 signalling the end of one of tennis’ most powerful teams

Venus and Serena Williams' withdrawal from the doubles competition at the US Open in 2022 signalling the end of one of tennis' most powerful teams

The Williams sisters’ match was losing on Thursday night, as the fans alternated between desperation and fleeting excitement. There was raucous celebration whenever Venus and Serena performed admirably. But the moments when things went wrong were what revealed the true intensity of the situation.

Venus and Serena Williams’ withdrawal from the doubles competition at the US Open in 2022 signalling the end of one of tennis’ most powerful teams

There was a general understanding among Arthur Ashe staff members that it’s unlikely we’ll ever see the two playing together again. Unforced errors or missed break points by the Czech team of Lucie Hradecka and Linda Noskova were received with murmured cheers from the audience, who wished for their heroes to perform another tennis miracle.

to give them a final encore. Serena has said that, barring a change of heart, she will retire from tennis within the next 10 days. The near future of Venus is uncertain. She has chosen to play a supporting role during Serena’s farewell tour while avoiding drawing attention to herself.

Venus lost to Alison van Uytvanck on Tuesday in the midday sun in front of a half-full Arthur Ashe, in contrast to Serena’s two successful singles matches at the US Open, which took place under the lights in a setting reminiscent of a once-in-a-generation boxing match.

There was no welcome montage for her, but then, her future hasn’t been revealed either. She said she was only concentrating on the doubles with Serena when asked earlier in the week if she was thinking about her own progress. One admirer, who had come all the way from Nebraska this morning to see her idols, said, “I think Venus deserves more recognition.”

Venus is acting like a good sister, but this is Serena’s tournament. Over the past year, she has played that role. Serena has been constructing her own story about her future in the sport and away from it, while Venus has been growing her businesses and pursuing her comeback to tennis.

The decision to play doubles here was made by Serena; “she’s the boss,” explains Venus. Serena stated on Monday, “I feel like it’s been extremely essential for her to be a part of this. “She is my pillar. I can’t wait to play with her and repeat that action.” Naturally, Venus picked up the phone.

Venus stated earlier this week that “we’re a great influence on each other, and I’m a huge impact on her.” However, Venus knew how to play that when it came to Serena’s “development.” According to Venus, “I just kind of felt like my responsibility is to make sure I don’t influence her in any way, and that this decision needs to be completely her and her family’s.”

The newest member of the family, I suppose, since we are all related. The most important thing, Venus continued, is for her to act on her own terms. On Thursday, we witnessed that. The two were led to practice by Serena. Serena took the initiative as they approached Arthur Ashe.

However, Venus was the one to lead them away in the end. Particularly in this region of the world, there is an unavoidable nostalgia around these two. Venus may have had her most memorable tennis moments at Wimbledon, but the two are adored in New York.

A montage of scenes from their life as told by Questlove played out on the court before the sisters’ entrance. While the clips with the silverware rolled above them, the two Czech players tried to maintain their composure. In 71 seconds, the montage attempted to capture the Williams sisters’ legacy.

Noskova would have seen a tonne of film from before she was alive had her focus even momentarily wandered. The sisters had had 10 singles Slam victories and six doubles crowns under their belts when she was born in November 2004. In the montage, Questlove commented, “This is a two-woman wrecking crew.

“They had too great an impact on the game to even attempt to express. We’ve all been fortunate enough to watch two of the best athletes for two decades as they demonstrate how two can become one.” After that, Questlove made one final demand: “PS You still have time to alter your mind. Just our opinion.”

In all likelihood, this is it for Serena. But Venus might continue to perform. She has answered inquiries regarding retirement for several years at this point. Her first match back in 11 months due to injury came at this year’s Wimbledon in the mixed doubles, marking her return to competitive tennis.

The focus of the investigation has changed to learning why she returned and why she chose to keep playing this sport. She was inspired by Serena’s performance and the sight of the grass at Wimbledon. She has previously claimed that her love of tennis is the reason she is returning.

Whenever she is questioned about her feelings, she typically uses the term “grateful.” The old steely resolve, however, was present this week. She responded when asked what was now motivating her: “W-I-N, three letters. I’m done now. Very simple.” Venus said she wanted to “hold my side of the court and be a nice sister” on Thursday.

Although they lost in straight sets, it was not for lack of effort, attention, or drive because these two are as competitive as they have ever been. They were up against a team that played precisely and emotionlessly. The Williams sisters were thoroughly outplayed by Hradecka and Noskova, who also earned the victory (7-6 (5), 6-4).

The Williams sisters have long resembled their own Tour de France team, with one of them occasionally sprinting ahead and the other following close behind. On other occasions, they would be running head-to-head. On occasion, one of them would be flying on the court as the other helped her off it.

Tuesday, Venus described it as a “exchange of energy and exchange of generosity.” Venus’ run at the US Open is drawing to an end, so she’ll be assisting Serena in getting ready for her match against Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round on Friday. Just as Serena has done for her in the past and most likely will do in the future, Venus will be in her box as normal.

Venus seems to be delaying her retirement from tennis. At Wimbledon in the past, in 2021, she stated: “I’ll let you know when it’s my final match. I’ll say it quietly in your ear.” On Thursday night, everyone would have remained silent to hear if she had muttered it.

The Williams sisters still have such collective sway over their devoted fan base, who was hoping for one final performance of their greatest hits. Venus might return for one more tour next year, and Serena still has at least one more match in her. But it was a little gesture that put the finishing touches on the closing act of one of tennis’ most powerful combined forces—a wave to the audience as they left Ashe.

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