WIMBLEDON, England – Serena Williams lost in her long-awaited comeback Tuesday night at Wimbledon in a tense marathon thriller 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (7) to Harmony Tan and questions about the 23rd major champion’s future in the sport were immediate.

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“That’s a question I can’t answer,” the 40-year-old said at a post-match press conference. “Like, I don’t know. I think you know, I don’t. Who knows? Who knows where I’ll pop up.”

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But if this was the last time we saw the legendary superstar on the court, at Wimbledon or anywhere else, then it certainly was a match to remember for a long time, full of epic plays, powerful shots and instant celebratory reactions. Williams herself even called it “crazy and intense.” in an Instagram post, and said, “Oh my God, I liked it,” despite the loss. Here are some moments from that night that will not be forgotten soon:


Serena gaining momentum (more than one way)

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After losing the first two games of the match, Williams began to find her rhythm and form in the third game. During this deuce play, Williams flew all over the court, returning every ball Tan hit her way and winning the point with an overhead kick that dropped her to one knee. It was, perhaps, the first truly “Serenian” moment of the match. Her close friend Caroline Wozniacki, who commentated on the match for Sportzshala, called it “very spectacular tennis.”


hello from the net

During a multi-hit play later in the first set, Williams tried an overhead shot again, but this time, Tan was able to return it with a flawless left-hand pass down the line to equalize with a 4-all. Even Williams was forced to applaud in appreciation.


Kneeled

Drawn 4-all in the third set as Williams sought to regain the momentum and lead she had previously, the 23-time major tournament champion hit with a perfect corner kick and then dropped to her knees in celebration as she made a 40- . 15 points in the game. Now that the roof was closed due to darkness, the Central Courtyard roared in admiration and awe, and most of the crowd jumped to their feet.


Taking control

Williams was two points away from winning the third set before Tan broke it to tie the game to 5-all. She celebrated the defining moment of the game with a Williams-style shout of “Come on!” to the crowd.


This winning moment

Tan, currently ranked 115th in the world, played in her Wimbledon main draw debut – no less than against Williams on Center Court – and made the biggest upset of her career after more than three hours of grueling play. Her celebration, and that of her family and friends in the stands after the final point, really spoke for itself as she advanced to the second round at the Major for only the third time in her career. The 24-year-old later called it a “dream”.


Crowd on their feet

At the end of the match, both players received a standing ovation. This seemed particularly poignant to Williams, who waved and swirled as she walked out the door as the crowd continued to cheer. It wasn’t as emotional as her departure for the 2021 Australian Open, but a worthy farewell – until next year or forever – for the seven-time Wimbledon champion.