After 26 years in professional tennis, Serena Williams has one last tournament awaiting her.
A final opportunity to further enshrine the Williams name into the tapestry of tennis in her homeland and around the world.
Unmistakably, Serena is going out on her terms. The 40-year-old announced in Vogue that she will retire from tennis and immerse herself in a life beyond the sport.
Williams has become an American icon, transcending sports thanks to her constant activism
The evolution, as she puts it, will see Serena disappear from the courts she has so often dominated, to focus on family.
Her last major singles tournament was in 2017, at Melbourne’s Australian Open.
Sure, Williams’ retirement has loomed over the sport for several years but now that it has arrived, many won’t want to say goodbye.
Here Dailymail.com takes a trip down memory lane, looking back at Serena’s six successes on the hardcourts of Flushing Meadows.
#1 – 1999: Williams def. Martina Hingis 6-3, 7-6 (7-4)
Williams entered the tournament as the seventh seed despite her youthful age.
The 17-year-old did not drop a set until the third round against Kim Clijsters, but managed to defeat the Belgian in a third set tie-break.
Williams had three set victories all the way thereon to the final, disposing of Monica Seles and reigning champion Lindsay Davenport.
When the big stage appeared, Serena didn’t disappoint, defeating No. 1 seed Martina Hingis in straight sets for her first Slam.
Serena Williams celebrated her first Grand Slam singles major aged just 17 years old in 1999
#2 – 2002: Williams def. Venus Williams 6-4, 6-3
The Williams sisters went into the year’s final Grand Slam as the first and second seeds.
Serena was ranked the higher of the two and showed it in the final, defeating Venus in straight sets.
In fact, the younger Williams did not drop a set for the entirety of the tournament as she steamrolled to her fourth Slam and second US Open crown.
The victory was the third straight Major in which Serena had defeated Venus.
Williams stormed through the 2002 edition, eventually beating her sister Venus in the final
#3 – 2008: Williams def. Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 7-5
Serena steamrolled her way to the quarterfinals stage before squeezing past seventh-seeded sister, Venus, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (9-7).
More than a deserving winner, Williams — once more — did not drop a set throughout the tournament.
In the final, she defeated Serbia’s No. 2 seed, Jelena Jankovic. In doing so, gaining revenge for her quarterfinals loss at that year’s Australian Open.
The triumph landed her the No. 1 ranking once more, relegating Jankovic to world No. 2.
Williams was ecstatic after defeating Serbian world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic in straight sets
The American icon’s 39 total Grand Slam titles
’98 Wimbledon – Mixed
’98 US Open – Mixed
’99 French Open – Doubles
’99 US Open – Singles & Mixed
’00 Wimbledon – Doubles
’01 Australian Open – Doubles
’02 French Open – Singles
’02 Wimbledon – Singles & Doubles
’02 US Open – Singles
’03 Aus Open – Singles & Doubles
’03 Wimbledon – Singles
’05 Aus Open – Singles
’07 Aus Open – Singles
’08 Wimbledon – Doubles
’08 US Open – Singles
’09 Aus Open – Singles & Doubles
’09 Wimbledon – Singles & Doubles
’09 US Open – Doubles
’10 Aus Open – Singles & Doubles
’10 French Open – Doubles
’10 Wimbledon – Singles
’12 Wimbledon – Singles & Doubles
’12 US Open – Singles
’13 French Open – Singles
’13 US Open – Singles
’14 US Open – Singles
’15 Aus Open – Singles
’15 French Open – Singles
’15 Wimbledon – Singles
’16 Wimbledon – Singles & Doubles
’17 Aus Open – Singles
#4 – 2012: Williams def. Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 2-6, 7-5
Williams lost in the semi finals to Kim Clijsters consecutively in 2009 and 2010 before falling to Australian Sam Stosur in the final of 2011.
2012 was meant to be for Serena however. Following the ultimate success at Wimbledon, she followed it up in Flushing Meadows.
The 30-year-old didn’t drop a set until midway through the final to world No. 1, Victoria Azarenka.
Azarenka even served for the match during the third set but failed to capitalize.
Williams went on to win her fourth US title and fifteenth singles Slam overall.
Williams went on to win fourth US title and fifteenth singles Slam overall in September 2012
Queen Serena couldn’t hide her smile after surviving a scare against Victoria Azarenka in 2012
#5 – 2013: Williams def. Azarenka 7-5, 6-7 (6-8), 6-1
The American and Belarusian faced off in a repeat of the 2012 final. Thankfully for the home crowd, the result was identical and equally impressive.
Williams become the oldest US Open champion ever, at the age of 31. After frustration with the windy weather and overall play, Serena recovered from tossing a racket on her way to Slam No. 17.
The victory took her to two-consecutive US Open titles and over $50million in career earnings.
2013 win took her to two-consecutive US Open titles and over $50million in career earnings
Williams hit the high-five after her second consecutive US Open final defeat of Azarenka
#6 – 2014: Williams def. Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-3
After a trying year at the other Grand Slam tournaments, which included losing in the fourth round of the Australian Open, second at the French and third at Wimbledon, Williams responded fiercely.
Both on the WTA circuit and of course, at the US Open. As she had so often at Flushing Meadows, Serena went through the entire tournament without dropping a set, never dropping more than three games in any of them.
Wozniacki had dropped two sets en route to the final, and none following her fourth round win over fifth seed, Maria Sharapova. Though she was no match for the American who went on to win her third consecutive US Open.
Simultaneously, she equaled Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova’s 18 Grand Slam singles titles and Evert’s six US Open crowns.
Serena continued to share history with Evert, becoming the first woman since the former to win three in a row since 1975-78.
Williams completed a three-peat of US open titles after defeating Caroline Wozniacki in 2014
The American tennis legend showed off her sixth home title from the Empire State Building