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Andy Murray has praised Serena Williams’ impact on the sport of tennis ahead of what is expected to be the final tournament of her career. The 23-time Grand Slam champion recently announced that she would be “evolving away” from tennis and while no date was set, it is thought that she will hang up her racket after the upcoming US Open.
Williams recently announced her upcoming retirement in a Vogue cover shoot and interview, and is now thought to have just one tournament left of her glittering career – the upcoming US Open. The former world No 1’s colleagues and rivals have come out in droves to hail her achievements since the news broke, and Murray is no exception as a long-time supporter of both Williams sisters and Serena’s 2019 Wimbledon mixed doubles partner.
The three-time Major champion has made a plea with the tennis world ahead of the 40-year-old’s final US Open campaign, while also lauding the American for the impact she has made on the sport throughout her 27-year career. “Hopefully the next 10 days to two, three weeks, whatever it is, you know that her career is really well-celebrated and you don’t want it to necessarily be a sad moment,” Murray said.
The current world No 47 shared his hopes for Williams’ career to be celebrated rather than mourned in the coming weeks, adding: “Like it’s probably a time to celebrate her career and everything that she’s done for the sport, because it’s been immense.”
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The 73-time title winner has transcended the sport and inspired generations to come – with the likes of world No 12 Coco Gauff recently revealing that Williams was the reason she even played tennis – and Murray was quick to stress her influence. “I don’t know how many other players have had that sort of impact on the game. Maybe Billie Jean King arguably,” he continued.
“But, she’s been great for tennis, and like I said, it will be sad. But, let’s hope everyone sort of gets behind her and celebrates her career the next few weeks.” Murray has been a staunch defender of both Williams sisters, known for correcting those who have discounted their achievements in the past.
When he successfully defended his gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics, BBC host John Inverdale told Murray that he was the first player to win two gold medals but the two-time Olympic champion quickly clarified the comment. “Well, [first] to defend the singles title. I think Venus and Serena have won about four each, but hadn’t defended a singles title before,” he interjected.
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While Murray has commended Williams’ impact on the sport, the 40-year-old herself has previously been full of praise for the Brit’s support of women’s tennis. “I don’t think there’s a woman player, and there shouldn’t be a female athlete that is not totally supportive of Andy Murray,’ she previously said.
“He has spoken up for women’s issues and women’s rights, especially in tennis, for forever. And he does it again, you know! That’s who he is and one thing we love about him. He has such a wonderful mother who has been such a strong figure in his life and he’s done so much for us on our tour. We love you Andy, Andy Murray.”
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