A day after announcing her plan to retire, Serena Williams was beaten in straight sets by Belinda Bencic in the second round of the Canadian Open on Wednesday night as one of the final pages in her remarkable career drew to a close.
Bencic dropped just six games in a 6-2 6-4 victory where Williams showed flashes of her best, but no more. The Swiss star stayed composed, refused to let the gravity of the match unsettle her and advances into round three.
Prior to the match, a video played with greetings from retired tennis great Billie Jean King, some rising stars like Coco Gauff and others, as well as Canadian hockey icon Wayne Gretzky.
‘Serena Williams, Willie O’Ree in hockey, Jackie Robinson in baseball. They changed everything,’ Gretzky said. ‘They changed the culture of sports and what Serena did for boys and girls throughout the world is spectacular. Serena, congratulations on a wonderful career.’
Speaking on court afterwards, Williams thanked her fans in Canada for their support across the course of her playing tenure.