Serena Williams center of attention at US Open as end nears

by | Aug 29, 2022 | Sports

NEW YORK — They came to the U.S. Open on Monday from far and wide for Serena — no last name required, befitting someone as much an icon as superstar athlete — eager to see her play or, if not lucky enough to hold the right ticket, hoping for an autograph, a glance at her practicing or merely the chance to breathe the same Flushing Meadows air as her.As thousands waited in lines to enter the tournament grounds hours before her match, then headed to smaller courts for earlier action or simply milling around, waiting and wading in the palpable excitement, no one present could know for sure how many more opportunities there will be for any of it. Folks were there to watch, or just think about watching, Serena Williams swing her racket the way she did to 23 Grand Slam singles titles, more than any other person in the professional era of tennis that began in 1968, because she has said she is ready to move on from her playing days.And they were there to honor her and show appreciation for what she’s done on the court and off.At about 6:15 p.m., Williams made the short walk to the practice courts beside Arthur Ashe Stadium for a half-hour hitting session to warm up. Folks packing the bleachers above the practice area greeted her with shrieks of “Serenaaaaa!” on her way in, and again yelled on her way out, receiving a wave of her racket as acknowledgment before Williams strode, lips pursed, back into the stadium.The first-round match against Da …

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