FSU Women’s Tennis Coach and a local Tennis coach react to Serena Williams’ retirement announcement

FSU Women's Tennis Head Coach and Tallahassee Tennis Operation Supervisor give insight on Serena's impact on the sport.
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 12:11 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - One final dance.

Tuesday, Serena Williams caught many of us by surprise as she announced she would be stepping away from tennis after the U.S. Open.

The announcement not only impacting those globally, but locally as well. Now that it’s had some time to set in, those in the the tennis community in Tallahassee are reacting to the announcement.

“People throw the word GOAT around a lot for certain people and she hands down is the best to ever do it,” said FSU Women’s Tennis Head Coach Jennifer Hyde.

Tuesday started a countdown that a lot of tennis fans weren’t ready for as Serena Williams, one of the best to ever step on the court, announced she would step away from it following the U.S. Open. Putting the icing on the cake for one of sport’s greatest stories.

“The Williams’s story is, there’s nothing like it. Maybe Tiger Woods might be the best other comparable person. They change; the game of tennis, they changed the face of tennis,” explained Coach Hyde. “They set the bar so high now that there’s really nowhere to go except fall.”

Serena’s power, athleticism, and swag all led to her dominance and longevity and helped her pave a way for those to follow behind her.

“You can see it now in her later years with people like Sloan Stevens who have followed her, Naomi Osaka, Coco Guff who is there,” said City of Tallahassee Tennis Operation Supervisor Lenin Mongerie. “So, she had a big impact on those kinds of players but even here locally there are a lot of kids saying I want to be like Serena, I want to be like Venus.”

The Williams sister’s are both great champions and have set the standard as Mongerie says the kids he trains are always trying to reach the bar they have set.

“One of the things I saw just recently I was reaching a little girl and she was hitting the ball hard and I said well you have to slow it down and she says but Serena doesn’t slow down” shared Mongerie. “I said I know she doesn’t but as you can see, they use her as a measuring stick for how they’re going to do.”

And when it comes to the future of the sport, Hyde doesn’t feel anyone can come close.

“No one is going to be able to probably ever do what she accomplished. It’s just not gonna happen ,” said Coach Hyde. “And at least maybe in my lifetime or our lifetimes but they definitely changed everything that is tennis out there from one end of the earth to the other.”

But for those looking for a role model, Mongerie hopes someone does strive to reach her level.

“We have got to keep the legacy going right. Not just for the sport of tennis but for African Americans,” Mongerie broke down. “Because a lot of times, at the end of the day the reality is that kids who are growing, when they see someone that looks like them, it gives them more hope. So, I’m hoping someone at least steps up and be that next force.”

Both expecting all eyes to be on the U.S. Open to give Serena an amazing sendoff.

“It’s going to be insane. I think everyone wants a piece of that history. I’m going up there and I would love to see her play one final time,” Coach Hyde explained. “You know because it’s a huge loss and what she has brought to this game, address again there’s not going to be another person who is able to do that in our lifetime.”

The first round of the U.S. open is Monday august 29th.

Serena enters play with 23 grand slam singles title, the most of any player man or woman in the open era

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