Williams’s road to what so many considered to be her last show on the big stage involved little court time, with only a handful of matches played in the last year. Bookies gave her return to Flushing Meadows at the ripe old age of 40 terrible odds, and a post-game celebration of her career was planned whether she won or lost — indicating that those behind the scenes of the tournament assumed the latter.
Triple match point: done. Emotion poured out, accompanied by a happy dance. The ritual hand shake, and then the victory twirl, which her glittery black cocktail dress was made for. No matter what comes next, this was no swan song.
What, honestly, is there left for her, the most successful tennis player of all time (and that isn’t an argument to be made, but rather a premise) to do on the court?
Well, it appears she had at least one more thing to do at the end of a career that is, in her own word, “extraordinary”: She had to win a match that she was not supposed to win, giving us not just one more time to watch Serena, but one more time to watch that Serena. It should surprise no one that she, not us, not the media, not the bookies, will dictate when it is over. And it ain’t over — yet. Advantage Williams, indeed.