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The sport’s hottest ticket has given way to a star-studded crowd at New York’s Arthur Ashe Stadium, where Vera Wang, Spike Lee, Rebel Wilson and Lindsey Vonn are all in attendance for what would be the final game of Serena Williams’ illustrious career. can be.
Hugh Jackman, Mike Tyson, Anna Wintour and even Bill Clinton are also expected to attend.
Having previously announced that she would like to “evolve” from tennis after this year’s US Open (don’t say “retired”), Williams could very well play in her final match in Queens tonight against the first-round opponent. , Danka Kovinic from Montenegro.
And if it’s her last game, Williams couldn’t have picked a better venue than center court in Flushing, where she won six singles titles and a couple of doubles titles for New York celebrities.
Of course, the demand to see Williams one more time has skyrocketed.
The average resale ticket price to this year’s US Open is up 68 percent to $512 since Williams’ retirement announcement, according to the ticketing and marketing analytics firm, TicketIQ.
Meanwhile, secondary market ticket prices rose 300 percent for Monday’s first round, with an average ticket price of $987 — a record since TicketIQ began tracking the data in 2011.
Serena Williams appears for Monday’s first round at the US Open in Queens
Serena’s Daughter Olympia and Husband Alexi Ohanian Monday at Arthur Ashe Stadium
Vera Wang watches ahead of the match between Serena Williams from the United States and Danika Kovinic from Montenegro
Fans cheer as Serena Williams of the United States takes the field ahead of her women’s singles match against Danika Kovinic of Montenegro on day one of the 2022 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Monday in Queens
The average resale ticket price to this year’s US Open is up 68 percent to $512 since Williams’ retirement announcement, according to the ticketing and marketing analytics firm, TicketIQ. Meanwhile, secondary market ticket prices rose 300 percent for Monday’s first round, with an average ticket price of $987 — a record since TicketIQ began tracking the data in 2011.
Serena Williams from the United States and Danika Kovinic from Montenegro pose for a photo ahead of their Monday match
Mike Tyson (left) and Hugh Jackman (right) are both expected at tonight’s game in Queens
Jets quarterback Zach Wilson is sidelined with an injury but he is expected at Arthur Ashe Stadium tonight’s game
Williams is not so much retiring, but reprioritising.
As she recently told The Wall Street Journal from her luxury Manhattan hotel ahead of her last US Open, tennis is being minimized in favor of her five-year-old daughter, Olympia, and a growing list of business interests, which have increasingly monopolized her time. .
What she’s not doing – as she has maintained – is retiring.
“I’m not retiring, I’m just moving away from tennis and doing something else,” Williams, 40, told the Journal, echoing statements in Vogue earlier this month when she announced her plans to leave the professional tour. . .
But while she refused to use the ‘R’ word to describe her transition, she admits tonight’s first round match against Kovinic could well be her last. At the very least, the 2022 US Open will be her last grand slam, and unless she wins Monday night in Flushing, it could be her last chance to play in front of a packed crowd.
Win or lose, Williams will have a farewell ceremony at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday night and the rest of her week will be pretty busy anyway.
“I should probably retire, at least for a few years, but for some crazy reason I don’t,” she said.
Currently, as any parent of a five-year-old can attest, her schedule revolves around daughter Olympia. That means you have to get up with her at 7 a.m. regardless of whether Williams is training or not.
When asked about Olympia’s influence on her routines, Williams said, “She threw in a wrench, and it’s great.”
Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr., center, poses, with mother Serena Williams, right, and father Alexis Ohanian, on the red carpet of the 2021 AFI Fest Gala Premiere of King Richard, at the TCL Chinese Theatre, in Hollywood, California , Sunday 14 November 2021
Even before becoming a mother, Williams was never big on breakfast and said she was never really hungry in the morning.
Things are changing somewhat now that husband and billionaire Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian has bought the family a farm with some accompanying chickens.
“So we got some chicks and they grew up and now they’re hens and I had some of their eggs, and it was really good,” Williams said.
After Olympia settles down in the morning, it’s time for the endless parade of phone calls and meetings that fill investor days.
“Wake up and go to the office and now that everything has gone digital, you can sit and take calls all day,” Williams said. ‘When Olympia goes to school, I usually just go to work. I work-work-work and then I usually pick her up from school.’
Williams has major corporate interests, including her own venture capital firm, Serena Ventures, which raised a reported $111 million initial fund last March. Additionally, she and sister Venus are both minority shareholders of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, co-own a National Women’s Soccer League Team, and have her own sustainable clothing line, S by Serena.
“I like to invest in things where I believe in the founder,” she told the Journal.
When asked for advice that has helped guide her, Williams said she always puts “God first” and then “everything else falls into place.”
Serena Williams celebrates her first US Open title in 1999 after beating Martina Hingis
The decision to leave was inevitable for Williams, who hasn’t won a major singles tournament since the 2017 Australian Open, but that doesn’t make it any easier. If she were a man, it would be much easier to weigh business and competition.
“Believe me, I’ve never wanted to choose between tennis and a family,” she wrote for Vogue earlier this month. ‘I don’t think it’s fair. If I were a man I wouldn’t be writing this because I would be playing and winning there while my wife did the physical work to expand our family. Maybe I’d be more of a Tom Brady if I had that chance.
“A lot of people don’t realize I was two months pregnant when I won the Australian Open in 2017,” she continued. “But I’m turning 41 this month and something has to be done.”
An unexpected problem on the way out: progress.
Williams has struggled with age and injuries in recent years, but recently told Time that she feels she is finally getting back on track.
“I see my improvement, and I think, Dang, I’ll be good in January,” said Williams, who immediately rejected the chance to play in the 2023 Australian Open. ‘I do not do that.’
Realistically, another Australian Open just doesn’t fit into her life.
Williams wants another child with Ohanian, largely to give Olympia the camaraderie of a sibling.
“When I watch Olympia, I really don’t perform at my peak by not trying harder to give her that little brother or sister,” Williams told Time. Coming from a large family, and coming from five, there is nothing better.’
In this file photo taken on January 12, 2020 Serena Williams of the USA with her daughter Alexis Olympia after her win against Jessica Pegula of the USA in the final of their women’s singles at the Auckland Classic tennis tournament in Auckland