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After Serena, Coco Gauff and others see who’s subsequent in ladies’s tennis

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NEW YORK – The crowds at Billie Jean King Nationwide Tennis Heart thinned solely barely within the days following what might need been Serena Williams’s ultimate match.

It was doable to stroll the location’s stone thoroughfares with out circumnavigating mile-long strains on the Grey Goose and Heineken stands, however throngs nonetheless moved like molasses. Anybody inquisitive about shopping for a T-shirt sized small, medium or massive on the largest present store on the grounds was in all probability out of luck.

Formally, the US Open stored on trucking because it rode the contrails of a Williams-inducted ticket rush. It set a single-day attendance report Saturday with 72,065 followers pouring by the middle’s turnstiles, which beat the day before today’s record-setting quantity by 26.

But the clouds that rolled in Friday and Saturday within the early afternoon contributed to a kind of hangover feeling at Flushing Meadows. The vitality began to seep, and all through Friday gamers had been requested for his or her ideas on the potential finish of Williams’s profession.

Jessica Pegula mentioned it finest.

“I simply can’t imagine the period of Serena is sort of, on the tennis courtroom, is over. I imply, it is simply laborious to image tennis with out her. “

The pure follow-up: What comes subsequent?

Serena Williams’s exit was identical to her profession – a combat to the tip

Girls’s tennis has cycled by eras practically with out pause for the previous few many years. When Chris Evert retired on the US Open in 1989, Steffi Graf was already eight Grand Slam wins into her 22-trophy haul di lei. Monica Seles gained the primary of her 9 main titles on the French Open a 12 months later.

Graf gained the ultimate main of her profession in 1999, but it surely was a resurgent effort after going Slam-less in 1997 and 1998. The lag left room for a few years between her dominance and Williams’s first Grand Slam win on the US Open in 1999.

But Williams has no inheritor obvious, no participant or two who’ve proved they will dominate on courtroom for a sustained interval and command a mainstream viewers. If Williams is definitely completed with tennis, the lively participant with probably the most Grand Slam titles is her 42-year-old sister di lei, Venus.

Naomi Osaka sits behind her with 4 main trophies. She is among the most fascinating athletes of her era at 24, having grabbed audiences around the globe and cemented herself as a robust chief within the arenas of social justice and psychological well being.

On courtroom, she hasn’t made it previous the third spherical in a serious since she collected her most up-to-date Grand Slam title in Australia in February 2021.

No. 1 Iga Swiatek is a reputation that different gamers carry up as a possible world beater. The Polish 21-year-old gained 37 straight matches earlier this 12 months, a streak that included six consecutive WTA titles and a French Open crown.

“I do not know – it is open for somebody to step up. As ladies’s tennis has proven, it has been laborious to be dominant, “Pegula mentioned, referring to the 14 winners within the 21 main tournaments contested since Williams gained her final in 2017.” That is why you take a look at somebody like Serena, dominant over a number of eras . It is fairly loopy. “

Coco Gauff made an argument for herself Sunday. The 18-year-old defeated two-time main doubles champion Shuai Zhang of China, 7-5, 7-5, to achieve her first profession quarterfinal on the US Open.

It was an exhilarating follow-up to Gauff’s French Open finals look in June, when she misplaced to Swiatek. Sunday’s win was the primary match to copy among the crowd vitality and basic frenzy Williams dropped at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The Twelfth-seeded Gauff was good within the match’s tightest moments. She trailed 5-3 within the first set and 5-4 within the second, a gap she dug herself out of with a 105-mph serve and an ace. She riled up the group by wagging her finger after successful massive factors and generated an environment that was so loud – with the roof over Ashe closed to maintain away mild rain – that Zhang clasped her arms over her ears at one level.

“The primary couple instances on Ashe, I used to be very nervous,” Gauff mentioned of taking part in on tennis’s largest stage, often reserved for main winners or whichever participant the US Tennis Affiliation thinks will draw the most important crowds.

“I do not know, I used to be actually shocked. My first spherical, I used to be shocked that I used to be being placed on Ashe. Then it occurred once more the second spherical. At that time, I figured perhaps it could hold occurring, particularly when Serena was taking part in. This should be like an ideal lineup for viewers. You could have me taking part in first, closing out with the GOAT. That is loopy. “

Gauff nonetheless could possibly be removed from imitating Williams and capturing her first Grand Slam trophy in Flushing Meadows. She faces one of many hottest gamers on the tour, Seventeenth-seeded Caroline Garcia, within the quarterfinals Tuesday. Swiatek and Pegula, the top-ranked American, are nonetheless alive within the draw, as are former main champions Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka.

Even when Gauff succeeds, approaching Williams’s standing would take time.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner set the bar astronomically excessive for stars in ladies’s tennis – each on and off the courtroom. On Wednesday, ESPN’s broadcast of her second-round win di lei peaked at 5 million viewers. The height of final 12 months’s match for ESPN was the three.4 million viewers who tuned in to look at Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez within the ultimate (the boys’s ultimate peaked at 2.7 million viewers the following day).

Star energy could make tennis appear depending on one character, Evert mentioned. The six-time US Open champion remembers questioning what the game would do when Bjorn Borg retired in 1983. He was a Beatles-like determine in her thoughts di lei.

“I assumed, ‘The place the heck is tennis going to go – males’s tennis, particularly?’ Evert mentioned.

“I assumed it was doomed. And it simply bounced again in a single or two years. And John [McEnroe] was there, and Jimmy [Connors] was there, and [Ivan] Lendl was there, and [Boris] Becker was there. And it simply bounced again. “

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