Serena Williams credits Tiger Woods for US Open swansong as golf icon cheers on tennis ace

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Serena Williams revealed Tiger Woods was “one of the main reasons I’m still playing” after the golfing superstar cheered her on to her latest stunning US Open win.

Woods was among Williams’ entourage in the Arthur Ashe Stadium as she beat world No.2 Anett Kontaveit 7-6 2-6 6-2 amid wild scenes. The 15-time Major winner repeatedly got to his feet to lead the applause. And moments after the finish, he tweeted: “It was a privilege to watch greatness. Congrats @serenawilliams.”

Williams revealed in her recent Vogue article announcing her imminent retirement that she had sought advice from her “friend” as she sought to return to action after tearing a hamstring at Wimbledon last year.

Woods suffered a horror car crash in February 2021 and returned to play in three Majors this year, starting with the Masters in April

And speaking after her Kontaveit victory about Woods, the 23-time Grand Slam winner said: “Yeah, he’s one of the reasons I’m here, one of the main reasons I’m still playing. So we talked a lot. He was really trying to get me motivated.

“There’s a few people, but we were like: ‘Okay, we can do this together, you know?’

“It was good, because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was just lost, so many questions. When you can rely on someone like that, I mean, my goodness, he’s Tiger Woods, it was really helpful to get clarity.”

In her Vogue article last month, Williams wrote: “This spring, I had the itch to get back on the court for the first time in seven months. I was talking to Tiger Woods, who’s a friend, and I told him I needed his advice on my tennis career. I said: ‘I don’t know what to do: I think I’m over it, but maybe I’m not over it.” He’s Tiger, and he was adamant that I be a beast the same way he is!

He said: ‘Serena, what if you just gave it two weeks? You don’t have to commit to anything. You just go out on the court every day for two weeks and give it your all and see what happens’.

“I said: ‘All right, I think I can do that’. And I didn’t do it. But a month later, I gave it a try. And it felt magical to pick up a racket again. And I was good. I was really good. I went back and forth about whether to play Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open after that. As I’ve said, this whole evolution thing has not been easy for me.”

Williams, who has postponed her retirement for at least another two days, admitted she was amazed by the atmosphere inside the Arthur Ashe Stadium. “The experience was really good,” she said. “I think you can only have this experience once in a lifetime, for sure.

I’m playing pretty good. I feel, like I said on the court, I’ve been practising really well, but it hasn’t been coming together in matches.

But, you know, now it’s kind of coming together, I guess. I mean, I had to bring it together today. It worked out.”

She faces Aussie world No.46 Alja Tomljanovic in the third round. But asked if she could go on and win a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title, Williams said: “I cannot think that far. I’m here, like I said. I’m having fun and I’m enjoying it. Honestly, I’ve had so many tough matches the last I don’t know how long that I just feel like just being prepared for everyone that I play is just going to be really, really difficult. Get through those moments.”

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