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Venus and Serena Williams leave the court together for the last time at the U.S. Open

Venus and Serena Williams left the tennis court as a team for the last time Thursday night, as Serena is unlikely to return to professional play after the U.S. Open

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Serena Williams and Venus Williams during their first-round doubles match at the U.S. Open on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022.

Serena Williams, left, and Venus Williams, of the United States, during their first-round doubles match against Lucie Hradecká and Linda Nosková, of the Czech Republic, at the U.S. Open tennis championships, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022, in New York.

Frank Franklin II, Associated Press

Thursday night marked the likely end of the Williams sisters tennis duo, as Venus and Serena Williams exited in the first round of the U.S. Open women’s doubles. Lucie Hradecka and Linda Noskova, of the Czech Republic, proved victorious over the sisters, ending the match at 7-6 (5), 6-4.

After telling Vogue in early August that she was “evolving away from tennis,” the U.S. Open was expected to be the final tournament of Serena Williams’ career. It would also be the last time Serena and Venus walked out onto the tennis court together, bringing a climactic air to the first round of the women’s doubles.

That tension was quickly lost, however, as Hradecka and Noskova overpowered the Williams duo. ESPN reported that the two sisters hadn’t played together in a tournament in over four years and couldn’t tap into the “signature magic” they’ve shared for over two decades. The Williams sisters couldn’t gain the upper hand after losing the hard-fought first set to a tiebreak, even after recovering from a 3-0 deficit against Hradecka and Noskova.

The Czech tennis pros may have never played in a large-scale tournament together before the U.S. Open, but their ability did not reflect it. Hradecka and Noskova earned their victory, preventing a late push that brought the game from 4-1 to 4-4. Both players matched the crowd’s respect as they talked about the match and the Williams duo.

“I think we did a very good job, and I’m so sorry for you that we beat them, but we are so happy we did it,” Hradecka said in a post-game interview with ESPN, acknowledging the crowd’s disappointment.

Noskova also voiced her admiration for the sisters, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“Playing against the Williams sisters is a special moment for everybody,” Noskova said.

Before the match even started, the adoring crowd was charged with excitement and anticipation as a video tribute to Venus and Serena Williams kicked off the night. Narrated by musician and filmmaker QuestLove, the video, titled “Double Trouble,” celebrates the “two women wrecking crew,” how they’ve inspired generations of athletes and their overall impact on the tennis world that is “too vast to describe.”

In ESPN’s article tracking the statistics of both Venus’ and Serena’s careers, they reported that the Williams sisters have won three Olympic gold medals and 14 women’s doubles Grand Slams as partners. Soon to step away from the tennis court, Serena has won 367 major matches — the most by a woman in the history of tennis — and stunned the world at the 2017 Australian Open when she won the tournament while two months pregnant with her daughter, Olympia.