Tiger Woods was spotted cheering on Serena Williams at the *other* U.S. Open
There are, it turns out, two annual Tiger Woods U.S. Open traditions.
There is the first one, the one you know well, in which Woods shows up at that year’s host of American golf’s national championship. That tradition gave us Torrey in 2008, Bethpage in ’02, and, of course, the record-breaking Pebble romp in ’00. But none of those performances have anything to do with the second annual Tiger Woods U.S. Open tradition. No, that would belong to Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, Queens, where the 15-time major champion has taken his talents in recent years to watch the best tennis players in the world compete in the *other* U.S. Open.
This year, Tiger’s appearance in New York City came in a moment of added significance. Woods’ longtime friend Serena Williams, whose dominance in her own sport rivals that of her golf counterpart, is playing in her final U.S. Open, set to retire after two decades atop her own sport. In a recent profile announcing the decision to Vogue, Williams revealed it was Tiger who helped her come to peace with her decision, and encouraged her to keep competing for one last run at the U.S. Open.
“I was talking to Tiger Woods, who’s a friend, and I told him I needed his advice on my tennis career,” Williams said in that profile. “I said, ‘I don’t know what to do: I think I’m over it, but maybe I’m not over it.’ He’s Tiger, and he was adamant that I be a beast the same way he is!”
On Wednesday, with Woods in attendance, Williams summoned another moment of U.S. Open magic, upsetting No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit in three sets to advance through the second round in the singles competition. Throughout the match, ESPN cameras repeatedly showed Woods, including his dropping a quintessential fist pump from the crowd after Williams closed out Kontaveit.
After her victory, Williams credited Woods for his role in helping her compete.
“He’s one of the reasons I’m here,” she said. “One of the main reasons I’m still playing.”
Woods, for his part, handed the limelight right back.
“It’s a privilege to watch greatness,” he tweeted. “Congrats @serenawilliams.”
It remains to be seen how much more of Williams’ U.S. Open run Woods will stick around for. With the tournament’s No. 2 seed now out of the way, it stands to reason that Williams could be on the brink of another deep run on the hardcourt. Serena’s next match — a doubles effort alongside her sister, Venus — will take place Thursday night, while there are more singles matches to come this weekend.