The departure of tennis superstar Serena Williams into sporting retirement, even if she still left a “back door” open, has triggered a flood of prominent tributes to the American on social networks. Led by ex-US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, Billie Jean King, golf great Tiger Woods, Rafael Nadal, LeBron James and ex-swimming star Michael Phelps, there was great praise for the achievements of the 23-time major winner.
“Congratulations, Serena, for your heart, talent, intelligence, dedication and dignity. Few athletes have inspired more people, both in sport and beyond,” said Barack Obama. “I love you, little sister.” With these words, golf star Tiger Woods concluded his message to Williams. “You are literally the greatest on and off the court. Thank you for inspiring us all to pursue our dreams.”
23-time Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps said the tennis record speaks for itself. “One of the things I just admire is that she just doesn’t give up. She is a great example for all of us.” Lebron James reported from the basketball camp: “You are the GOAT (Greatest of all time). What you have done for sport and for women has never happened before”.
One of the biggest fighters and stars in tennis men, Rafael Nadal, said: “We were lucky to have had such a great ambassador like Serena for so long. I wish her all the best and hopefully we’ll see her around the tour.”