The 40-year-old tennis star took on Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit, who is ranked number two in the world, during Wednesday night’s match at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City. While she struggled during the second set, Williams emerged from the locker room during the break and dominated the third set with a final score of 7-6, 2-6, 6-2.
Speaking to the press after her second round victory, Williams was asked by a New York Times reporter what she did in between sets to come out with a much higher performance level than she did earlier in the match.
Williams replied: “I just got lighter.”
The 23-time grand slam champion began to chuckle, and gestured to the crowd of reporters: “Use your imagination.”
After eliciting a roar of laughter from the room, Williams clarified: “But it wasn’t number two.”
Williams will take on Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic in her third round match on Friday (2 September).
In August, Serena Williams revealed that this year’s US Open tournament is set to be her last. The tennis star, who appeared on the cover of Vogue’s September 2022 issue, shared in a personal essay that she will be “evolving away from tennis” as she continues to focus on growing her family.
“I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution,” Williams wrote. “I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.”
Now that the US Open has arrived, it seems that Williams isn’t ready to retire just yet.
Following Wednesday night’s match, Williams told ESPN courtside commentator Mary Joe Fernández: “There’s still a little left in me. We’ll see. I’m a pretty good player; this is what I do best. I love a challenge and I’m rising to the challenge.”