Jelena Ostapenko shows major respect, appreciation for Serena Williams

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Jelena Ostapenko shows major respect, appreciation for Serena Williams

2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko called Serena Williams "an amazing champion" and thanked her for being a great role model to the younger generation of players. Williams, 40, concluded her final US Open campaign after losing to Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round.

Ostapenko, 25, grew up watching Williams on TV and hoping she would one day be a successful tennis player. Ostapenko got one shot at Williams as the two met at the Billie Jean King Cup in 2020. Back then, Williams edged out Ostapenko in two tight sets 7-6 (4) 7-6 (3).

"Serena Williams, what an amazing champion you are and what an amazing athlete and person! Role model for so many of us. Tennis is gonna miss you so much! Wishing you all the best in your next chapter of life," Ostapenko wrote on her Instagram Story.

Ostapenko, Petra Kvitova pay tribute to Williams

Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion, also shared a nice retirement message to Williams.

"You set the standard, then you raised the bar. You inspired us, you challenged us, you made us stronger. Thank you @serenawilliams - for everything you did for our sport. Tennis sure won’t be the same without you," Kvitova wrote on Twitter.

Williams kicked off her final US Open with victories over Danka Kovinic and Anett Kontaveit. Just when the hype surrounding Williams started to ramp up, she unfortunately lost to Tomljanovic in three sets. Even though Williams didn't cap off her career with the US Open title, she still experienced some very memorable moments in her final tournament.

“It was some really great moments today. Not today, but this week, has been really great. Just so much support, so much love. It was really amazing and overwhelming. And I just feel like the whole crowd was really wanting to push me past the line. I’m so thankful and grateful for that," Williams said after finishing her US Open run.