Serena Williams left emotional after crushing defeat following retirement news

The 23-grand slam champion is stepping down

Serena Williams was pictured wiping away tears following an emotional defeat at the Canadian Open on Wednesday.

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The tennis ace, who announced her retirement plans in an interview with British Vogue, was sadly defeated by 2020 Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4. Despite the loss, Serena received a standing ovation from the crowd and was clearly moved by the reaction as she struggled to disguise her emotions.

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Her defeat marks her final time at the tournament as a player, and speaking in a post-match interview to the Tennis Channel, Serena admitted that it has been "a pretty interesting 24 hours," following her bombshell news.

"It's just been so memorable," she told the outlet. "Like I said in my article, I'm terrible at goodbyes, but… goodbye, Toronto!" 

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She added: "I've always had some amazing times here both on and off the court, I'll be coming back just as a visitor to this city. Otherwise, it's been remarkable, I've had some really amazing matches here, some really cool wins."

Serena was moved to tears following her defeat

As the crowd screamed and shouted their admiration for the tennis champ, an emotional Serena thanked them "from the bottom of my heart" before she exited the court. "It's been a joy playing in front of you guys all these years," she said via the Tennis Channel. "Thank you."

Serena will bow out of playing tennis professionally following the US Open, which takes place in New York from 29 August to 11 September.

Serena's final tournament will be the US Open

"I have never liked the word retirement," she told British Vogue: "It doesn't feel like a modern word to me. I've been thinking of this as a transition, but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people."

She added: "Maybe the best word to describe what I'm up to is evolution. I'm here to tell you that I'm evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me."

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