BET À DAY
NEW YORK | Arthur-Ashe Court, the largest court in the world, will go up in flames tonight for what could be the curtsey of one of his biggest idols, Serena Williams.
Yes, there were still tickets available yesterday for this potentially historic evening. But the cheapest, located at the top of the nearly 24,000 seat stadium, retailed for $335 each on the tournament's official website.
Six times champion in New York, 23 time Grand Slam titleholder, Williams is expected to enter the field around 7 p.m. to face Montenegrin Danka Kovinic, 80th in the world.
At 40 years, the American announced three weeks ago in the pages of Vogue magazine that the next tournaments would be the last of her long and prestigious career, haloed with 73 coronations in singles. < /p>
“I never liked the word 'retirement',” she wrote at the time. I'm here to tell you that I will grow out of tennis, into other things that are important to me. »
Among these is the desire to have a second child, five years after the birth of Olympia, with whom she was pregnant when she won the Australian Open in 2017.
His aura will remain
His 23rd major title is his last to date and arguably the ultimate. Because since her return to the game at Wimbledon after a year of hiatus forced by a leg injury, Serena is no longer the shadow of the great champion she once was.
In four games, she has only one victory. It was in Toronto, against the Spaniard Nuria Parrizas Diaz, current 62nd in the world.
A record that is not disappointing, given her age and her long break out of the pitches.
And whether tonight marks the beginning of a fairy tale or the end of an unrivaled career, one thing seems certain: Williams' legacy, he, will never be forgotten.
“He's so big that no words can describe him,” former world No. 1 Naomi Osaka said at a press conference on Saturday. She changed the sport so much. She introduced tennis to people who were not interested in it. »
« I am the product of what she has achieved. »
Andreescu's Saving Sunset
It was while watching the sun set over one of Costa Rica's majestic landscapes, during a trip this winter, that Bianca Andreescu says she seized the chance she had in life.
While taking a break from tennis, the sport that propelled her to stardom when she was only 19, the Canadian said she “felt chills”. < /p>
“I realized how lucky I was. Not just to play tennis, but to be alive, to have arms and legs that allow me to do what I love in life,” she told Journal, Saturday.
Because at that time not so long ago, the Ontarian was not well.
Repeatedly injured, she even thought about hanging up her racket at one point, only three years after having won the U.S. Open.
Move up the rankings
But today – she repeats it every time she is asked about it – Andreescu is happy. And ready to climb the ranks one by one to regain a place among the top 10.
Now 48th, she stresses that she does not think about it often, explaining that she is aware that it is there “of a process that will take the time it takes”.
Except that it is there in part, the objective of the 22-year-old Canadian, who has was once ranked fourth on the WTA.
And it starts with strong performances in New York over the next two weeks. A tournament she knows so well, having won it.
Except that being a Grand Slam champion is a double-edged sword, she points out.
” I obviously have good memories here, but at the same time, I remember how difficult it is to make it to the end. In every match, you face a formidable opponent, noted Andreescu. There are days when you feel worse, and that's normal, that's tennis. »
« But at the same time, I know that if I I did it once, I can do it again,” she added with a smile.
In action today
The young racket will face today, around noon, the Frenchwoman Harmony Tan, 112th in the world, who had beaten the American Serena Williams at Wimbledon.
A first round enigmatic, the two players having never faced each other before. But the Canadian says she is confident, helped by this third round in Toronto.
Confident, and happy.