Williams, in spite of the breaking commotion, kept up with her concentration as she strolled deliberately to her seat and started getting ready for the exhibition ahead — the primary match in what is generally anticipated to be Williams' last U.S. Open, her last significant competition.
When her practice session ended, the fans applauded again, and Williams lifted her racket to acknowledge their cheers as she walked off with Rennae Stubbs, her coach. Not long after, she was making her grand entrance into Ashe Stadium.
"I think when you're passionate about something and you love something so much, it's always hard to walk away," she said. "Sometimes I think it's hard to walk away than to not. That's been the case for me."