Serena Williams’ illustrious doubles career likely came to an end after she and her sister Venus lost in straight sets to the Czech duo of Linda Nosková and Lucie Hradecká in the first round of the US Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion and 14-time doubles champion is still set to face Australia’s Ajla Tomljanović in the third round of the singles draw on Friday. Venus Williams lost in the first round on Tuesday.
Thursday night could have been the last match for Serena and Venus as a doubles team. The Czech duo of 17-year-old Nosková and 37-year-old Hradecká advanced to the second round, winning 7-6(5), 6-4.
The Williams sisters entered the US Open as doubles wildcards. They last played doubles together at Roland Garros 2018, when they reached the round of 16.
On Wednesday, Serena defeated Anett Kontaveit 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-2 in singles action. It was Williams’ fourth match since announcing in Vogue magazine that she would be “getting away from tennis” after the US Open.
“I never liked the word retirement. That doesn’t sound like a modern word to me. I thought of it as a transition, but I want to be sensitive to how I use that word, meaning something very specific and important to a community of people,” Williams, 40, said in Vogue article published earlier this month.
“Perhaps the best word to describe what I do is evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, towards other things that are important to me,” she said.
Venus Williams, 42, has not announced her future tennis plans.