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Serena Williams Bids Tearful Farewell After Canadian Open Defeat

Serena Williams left the Canadian Open for the final time as a competitor on Wednesday night, wiping back tears after defeat.

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The tennis champ, 40, took the court in Toronto for her first match since she declared that she will start to transition away from professional tennis once she competes in the upcoming U.S. Open.

Her farewell efforts north of the border stopped at the Canadian Open’s second round, though; Williams lost Wednesday’s match against world No. 12 and 2020 Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4.

Williams received a standing ovation from the crowd at Center Court at Sobeys Stadium, both when she took the court and after the match ended, according to a video posted by the Tennis Channel. She complimented Bencic’s play Wednesday in a post-match interview and told the Tennis Channel that it has been “a pretty interesting 24 hours,” attributing to a Vogue interview in which she spoke out about her retirement plans.

“It’s just been so memorable,” Williams told the outlet. “As I said in my article, I’m terrible at goodbyes, but… goodbye, Toronto!”

“I’ve always had some amazing times here both on and off the court, I’ll be coming back just as a visitor to this city,” Williams said, of leaving the Toronto-based tournament as a competitor for the final time. “Otherwise, It’s been remarkable, I’ve had some amazing matches here, some cool wins, a crazy match against [Bencic] a few years ago, that was pretty intense.”

Williams offered the crowd at Center Court a thank-you “from the bottom of my heart” before she exited the court. “It’s been a joy playing in front of you guys all these years,” she said via the Tennis Channel. “Thank you.”

Before Wednesday’s loss, Williams just earned her first singles win in more than a year on Monday when she defeated Spain’s Nuria Párrizas Díaz in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4.

Since Williams was eliminated by Bencic in Toronto, the 23-time Grand Slam winner will next play at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati before she travels to New York City for one last US Open.

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