Entertainment Sports Serena Williams Wins First Round Match at US Open After Shaky Start: 'I Want to Do My Best' The 23-time Grand Slam champion has said that she plans to leave her pro tennis career behind after the US Open By Diane Herbst Published on August 29, 2022 10:43 PM Share Tweet Pin Email She's not done yet. Serena Williams, who last month announced she was "evolving away from tennis" dazzled a cheering sold out US Open crowd behind her every stroke as she defeated Montenegro's Danka Kovinic, 6-3, 6-3. She will next face Anett Kontaveit of Estonia, the No. 2 seed, in the second round. As Williams, in a shimmering black top with gold sparkles, stood at the net after her win, she twirled around and raised her left arm up to the sky with a big smile. "When I step on the court I have to do the best I can," Williams, 40, said. "I feel so comfortable on this court in front of everyone here and I want to do my best." Serena Williams. COREY SIPKIN/AFP/Getty Beyoncé Narrates Ad Honoring Serena Williams The crowd, which included former president Bill Clinton, Queen Latifah, Spike Lee, Bella Hadid and other A-listers, was on its feet and cheering wildly as Gayle King came on the court after the match for a tribute to Williams. TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Her daughter, Olympia, in a matching outfit and in the arms of Willams' husband, Alexis Ohanian, stood nearby. For more on Serena Williams, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day. "I think Serena said, 'not today, not today,' " said King. And after a shaky start, it was indeed not today that Williams, who turns 41 in a few weeks, would play the final singles match of a pro career that began almost 27 years ago. A Guide to All 23 of Serena Williams' Grand Slam Wins Throughout the match, the crowd buoyed Williams along, through a shaky start and unforced errors. "I love you Serena," shouted a man as Kovinic was about to serve. The crowd's pro-Serena energy seemed to shake the confidence of the unseeded Kovnic, who didn't win a single point in the final game. After her win, Williams was asked to look towards her next match, but she wanted to soak in this victory. "I'm just not even thinking about that. I'm just thinking about just this moment," she said. "I think it's good for me just to live in the moment now." "At this point, honestly, everything is a bonus for me." Serena Williams. Al Bello/Getty On Wednesday, Williams is teaming up with sister Venus for their first-round doubles match. King asked Williams how she decided to step away from the game — where she spent 319 weeks at number 1 in the world and won 23 Grand Slam singles titles. "It's been a very hard decision," says Williams. "When you are passionate about something it is hard to walk away and I've been trying to decide what to do….but now's the time, I have a family, I call it an evolution." Still, in her post-match press conference, the tennis star left room for a change of heart when she was asked if the US Open will definitely be her last tournament. "I've been pretty vague about it, right?" she said with a smile. "I'm going to stay vague because you never know." RELATED VIDEO: Serena Williams Bids Tearful Farewell After Canadian Open Defeat: 'I'm Terrible at Goodbyes' Williams went on to say that this evolution will include time working on her venture capital firm, Serena Ventures, which invests in a variety of businesses. "And I wanted to spend more time at home and work on my spiritual life," she says. "That was really important to me." Alexis Ohanian and Olympia Ohanian. Tim Clayton/Corbis/Getty When King asked Williams, "What do you want people to think about when they hear your name?" the tennis champion said, "I want people to think how hard one tries." "I've been down and out so many times in the public eye but you never give up, no matter what," she said. "I want people to be inspired by my story." Serena Williams After she finishes her time at the US Open, Williams is most looking forward "to waking up, I don't have to run to the court and I want to be a mom to her [Olympia], she is such a good girl." And feet away, Olympia was blowing big kisses to Serena.