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Serena Williams is most tweeted-about female athlete ever, Twitter says

Williams was defeated by Ajla Tomlijanovic of Australia in the third round Friday at the U.S. Open, likely marking the end of her storied 27-year tennis career.
Serena Willaims
Serena Williams at the U.S. Open in Queens, N.Y., on Friday.Al Bello / Getty Images

Serena Williams, considered by many to be the greatest women’s tennis player ever, is also the GOAT on Twitter among female athletes.

Williams was defeated by Ajla Tomlijanovic of Australia during their women’s singles third-round match Friday at the 2022 U.S. Open. The loss likely marks the end of Williams’ 27-year tennis career, as she earlier this month said she planned to retire after playing in the U.S. Open.

“It’s been the most incredible ride and journey I’ve ever been on in my life,” an emotional Williams said in an on-court interview after the match, which was broadcast on ESPN. She also expressed heartfelt gratitude to her team, her parents, her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, and her sister Venus: “I wouldn’t be Serena if there wasn’t Venus.”

Following Williams’ exit from the U.S. Open, Twitter Sports announced that the 23-time Grand Slam champion was the most tweeted about female athlete ever on the social network. According to Twitter, 74% of those who tweeted about Serena in August and through Sept. 2 had not previously tweeted about her all year.

Serena Williams
Serena Williams at the U.S. Open in Queens, N.Y., on Friday.John Minchillo / AP

On the first day of the U.S. Open tournament, Twitter launched an exclusive GOAT emoji -- with a tennis skirt and racket -- to honor Williams’ final tournament and greatest-of-all-time-level career. The special emoji appears in tweets that include the following hashtags: #Serena, #SerenaWilliams and #ThankYouSerena. She is among an elite group of athletes whom Twitter has introduced a GOAT hashmoji alongside the likes of Tom Brady, Simone Biles, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Williams’ last Grand Slam victory was at the Australia Open in 2017, when she was two months pregnant with her daughter Olympia. She has said she’s been trying to have another baby with Ohanian.

Here are some of the top tweets about Williams following her swan-song match Friday: