Serena Williams loses to Tomljanovic in US Open farewell

Never one to leave softly, Serena Williams refused to let this match, her trip to the U.S. Open, or her extraordinary career completely, truly end.

The last moments of her quarter-century of excellence on the tennis court, unless she has a change of heart.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion avoided five match points to extend the over three-hour match, but she was unable to do more.

She lost to Ajla Tomljanovic on Friday night in what is likely to be her final match, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-1, to be eliminated from the U.S. Open.

stated Williams. "I've never given up in my profession. I persevere during games. There was no way I was giving up tonight.

She said she hated the word "retirement."

the most incredible ride and journey I’ve ever been on in my life,” Williams said,

I’m so grateful to every single person that’s ever said, ‘Go, Serena!’ in their life.”