Serena Williams' last match becomes the most watched on ESPN - VybezTV
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Serena Williams’ last match becomes the most watched on ESPN

Serena Williams’ defeat at the US Open on Friday in the final match of her illustrious career was the most-watched tennis broadcast in ESPN’s 43-year history.

Her third-round loss to Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York was watched by an average of 4.8 million viewers between 7:15 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET and peaked at 6.9 million viewers in the quarter-hour at 10:15 p.m., the Daily Mail reports.

Playing alongside her sister Venus, Williams took the tennis world by storm when they hit the courts of Compton, California, as teenagers and went on to dominate and change the predominantly white sport.

Winner of 23 Grand Slam singles tournaments, Williams has transcended the boundaries of sport, and her likely retirement from competitive tennis to focus on her family and business interests led to a flood of tributes from athletes, celebrities and politicians.

Serena was cheered at home and abroad, and fans did not resent her last defeat, but saw her as the “greatest of all time”.

These are the most-watched first five days of the US Open on ESPN networks,” ESPN said in a press release.

A spokesman for the channel, which counts former stars Chris Evert, John McEnroe and Caroline Wozniacki among its tennis analysts, told Reuters last week that the network would be happy to discuss the possibility of bringing Williams into the broadcast booth if she wanted to go in that direction in retirement.

Williams had revealed in an interview with Vogue last month that she wanted to “move on” from tennis, and her appearance at Flushing Meadows is expected to be her last tournament.

Williams is ready to focus more on herself. The 40-year-old said after her last match, “I’m ready to become a mother and discover a different version of Serena.

And technically I’m still super young, so I want to have a little bit of life while I can still walk,” she added with a little laugh.

In her on-court interview, Williams seemed to leave the door somewhat open for a comeback. Asked if that was the case, she replied, “I think so, you never know,” before leaving the court.

As Daily reports, Williams had defeated Dankan Koviic in the first round of the Grand Slam tournament before beating world number two Anett Kontaveit on Wednesday.

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