A former president, A-list actors and professional athletes were among the fans who packed into Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday to watch Serena Williams in the first round of the U.S. Open.
The guests in Williams’s player’s box included Alexis Ohanian, her husband; Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., her daughter, who turns 5 next month; Oracene Price, her mother; Jill Smoller, her agent; and Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue magazine, in whose pages Williams announced her impending retirement.
Olympia’s hairstyle paid tribute to the white beads that Williams wore in her hair when she won the U.S. Open for the first time in 1999.
Others spotted in the crowd included former President Bill Clinton, who appeared engaged in a long conversation with the psychosexual therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer, who is 94. Martina Navratilova, the former tennis star, brought her dog Lulu.
Mike Tyson, Queen Latifah, Katie Couric, Matt Damon and Spike Lee were also taking in the match, as were Gayle King, the CBS News anchor, and the ski racer Lindsey Vonn. And on an off day for the Mets ahead of a home series against the Dodgers, the star shortstop Francisco Lindor took in the action.
Also in the stands was Coco Gauff, who won in straight sets in her first-round match in Ashe on Monday afternoon.
“I love you,” Gauff said on Twitter, tagging Williams.
After her own match, Gauff told reporters that she hoped Williams wins on Monday.
“I’m sure it’s going to be an emotional night for everyone,” Gauff said. “I hope that tonight is how she wants to end or evolve away from tennis.”
Mayor Eric Adams of New York was also in attendance. “She inspired so many young people to see that there’s no limitation,” Adams said of Williams before the match. He added, “She has done so much to this generation of introducing tennis into their lives.”