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"I really cried when I saw the news; thanks to her, I became the player I am" - Garbine Muguruza, Coco Gauff and other WTA stars pay tribute to Serena Williams

Serena Williams has inspired a lot of tennis stars over the years.
Serena Williams has inspired a lot of tennis stars over the years.

The tributes for Serena Williams just keep pouring in. Garbine Muguruza and Coco Gauff are among the latest tennis stars who honored the soon-to-retire Williams in a video shared by the WTA.

Muguruza said that she shed tears upon hearing the news about the six-time US Open champion and 23-time Grand Slam winner Williams' "evolving away from tennis."

Two-time Major winner Muguruza added that "having zero options to become a tennis player," her mom encouraged her by making Serena Williams and her older sister Venus Williams her inspiration.

"I really cried when I saw the news because she inspired many of us. I'm one of those girls that started in a very difficult sport, playing tennis, having zero options to become a tennis player. And I remember my mom always saying, 'Look at these sisters and they made it. Look how fearless they are. You have to be like them," said Muguruza, adding, "And, well, thanks to her, I became the player I am."
Muguruza: I saw both matches. I'm zero surprised. I think she's playing like Serena plays: Strong and solid, just her game. I'm zero surprised. She's putting it together at the right moment. This is a last push & we all see it that this is a last push because she's giving it all.

Gauff, meanwhile, equated Williams to the sport of tennis itself, emphasizing how she changed the game.

"Serena is definitely tennis, I would say. The way that she's changed the game. If you look at from when she started her career and how people are playing, to now when she's ending it and how people are playing. I think that massive change is due to her. No one was doing it like her and I dont think anyone will ever do it like her," said Gauff.
Coco Gauff (fourth from left) cheers on her idol Serena Williams (not in photo) during the 2020 Fed Cup.
Coco Gauff (fourth from left) cheers on her idol Serena Williams (not in photo) during the 2020 Fed Cup.

Ons Jabeur, Serena Williams' doubles partner in Eastbourne, and Madison Keys also shared good words about Serena.

Like Muguruza, Jabeur and Keys drew inspiration from the 40-year-old Williams as they carved their own paths in tennis.

"Serena really created history for tennis and opened the doors for us. For me, as a young girl dreaming to play tennis, she's such an inspiration. And I was lucky enough to be the same on tour with her," said Jabeur.
"She's been an absolute inspiration for me ever since I was little. I grew up watching her. And then being able to play her has been some of the greatest moments of my life and my career and something I'll always remember and cherish," said Keys.
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Garbine Muguruza, Coco Gauff, Ons Jabeur and Madison Keys join Serena Williams in US Open third round

Garbine Muguruza strikes a backhand against Linda Fruhvirtova in the second round of the US Open.
Garbine Muguruza strikes a backhand against Linda Fruhvirtova in the second round of the US Open.

Serena Williams is still in the thick of the US Open battle as she made it to the third round after beating World No. 2 Anett Kontaveit in three sets. Garbine Muguruza, Coco Gauff, Ons Jabeur and Madison Keys joined her there as they also got past their respective second-round opponents.

Williams will next face Ajla Tomljanovic in what is expected to be another packed Arthur Ashe Stadium.

INCREDIBLE, once again.#SerenaWilliams keeps the Last Dance going, beating the world number #2 Anett Kontaveit 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-2, in 2h27, to reach the 3rd round at the #USOpen. How far can the 23 times Slam champ go?She is facing Tomljanovic next. https://t.co/O4Osk3mqdt

Meanwhile, Muguruza and Petra Kvitova will face each other in a fight between two Grand Slam champions, while Gauff meets Keys in an all-American battle. Another American, Shelby Rogers, squares off with Ons Jabeur.

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Edited by Anirudh
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