NEW YORK, August 30 – Serena Williams has no plans to follow Kim Clijsters and Andy Roddick into retirement after the US Open, the 14-time Grand Slam champion saying their departures makes her more determined to keep going.
US fourth seed Williams, coming off titles at Wimbledon and the Olympics in the past two months, advanced to the third round of the US Open with a 6-2, 6-4 triumph over Spain’s Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez on Thursday.
After the victory, she pondered Wednesday’s retirement of three-time US Open winner Kim Clijsters of Belgium and 2003 US Open champion Andy Roddick’s announcement on Thursday that this would be his final tournament.
“It makes me want to stay more,” Williams said. “It doesn’t make me say, ‘Oh I should retire.’ No. I wouldn’t have anything to do.”
Williams said she felt the departure of Clijsters more than she expected.
“Losing Kim was so hard. I saw her yesterday. I just hugged her. My eyes got watery. I really like her. She is a great person,” Williams said.
“I didn’t expect that reaction but she definitely will be missed on tour. I didn’t realize how much until yesterday. Andy as well.”
In part, it’s because Williams will lose two valued friends in the jet-set world of tennis touring, one of her oldest being Roddick.
“It’s very incredibly sad for me to lose a friend on tour that I look forward to seeing every Grand Slam. It’s going to be hard,” Williams said.
“I know a lot of people look up to Andy Roddick. That’s who I want to be like.”
Federer hails Wimbledon champ who never was
Roger Federer admitted he was saddened by Andy Roddick’s retirement, insisting he’ll always regard him as a “Wimbledon champion” despite the American’s epic failures to lift the All England Club title.
World number one Federer beat Roddick three times in the Wimbledon final in 2004, 2005 and 2009 with their last encounter decided 16-14 in the final set.
“That’s what I said about him in 2009. He deserves this title as well. In my mind, he is a Wimbledon champion, a wonderful ambassador for the game.
“I am thankful for everything he has done in the sport here in America. It’s not been easy after (Andre) Agassi, (Pete) Sampras, (Jim) Courier, (Michael) Chang, (Jimmy) Connors, (John) McEnroe, you name them.
“It’s been hard for him at times but I thought he always did the best he could. That’s all you can ask for from a guy like Andy.”
Roddick, the 2003 US Open champion and a former world number one, turned 30 on Thursday and marked the occasion by revealing his intention to retire once this US Open is finished.
“It’s sad. That’s how I felt when Andy told me,” added Federer.