Serena Williams reached a big tennis milestone this week in Rome – her 1000th professional match – and there have been no shortage of tributes.
Williams has a tennis career spanning four decades, has won 73 singles titles and holds the Open Era record for winning 23 Grand Slams Championships, three ahead of the men’s record of 20 held jointly by Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
Her 1000th match was against Argentinian Nadia Podoroska in Italy and, unfortunately for Williams, who hasn’t played since her semi-final exit at the Australian Open almost three months ago, she was defeated 7-6, 7-5.
But the defeat hasn’t stopped the tennis elite from marking Williams’ incredible achievement with messages of celebration, most notably men’s world number one Novak Djokovic.
“Congratulations on your big milestone playing the 1,000th match in your career,” said Djokovic.
“Words cannot describe how much you’ve contributed to tennis in general, both the male and female sides.
“You’ve been an icon for this sport, thank you so much for everything you have done on and off the court and what you keep on doing.
“You inspire myself and many other players on both the men’s and women’s side. We are so excited to share the same era as you as well. Wishing you all the best champ, keep going and happy to still watch you on the court.”
Other top tens players including Stefanos Tsitsipas added their own congratulations to Williams with the Greek suggesting a possible future mixed doubles partnership.
“Serena, this is exquisite. I would like to congratulate you on your incredible achievement in your career and hopefully you can go on and keep playing and reach 2,000 matches on the Tour.
“I’m your biggest supporter and I really hope you get to play with me mixed doubles one day. Why not?”
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