Samantha Stosur shed more than a few tears after the retiring great's decorated tennis career came to an emotional end with a first-round Australian Open mixed doubles loss.
Stosur and Matt Ebden lost 4-6 6-3 10-6 in a match tiebreak to the fifth-seeded Dutch-Croatian pairing of Demi Schuurs and Nikola Mektic in front of a packed court three on Saturday night.
Stosur was given a standing ovation by the adoring fans, including her family, and was acknowledged by her rivals after a 21st and final Melbourne Park campaign.
"It's really hard to put into words. I just can't believe the journey I've been able to get on," Stosur said.
"Dreaming as a little kid and to be able to finish here all these years later in front of friends and family and the Aussie fans who have supported me forever.
"That's what actually makes me the most upset is not being able to go to all these tournaments and see all the people that I love.
"I've been lucky to have the success that I've had and that's what we do it for, and I've been very blessed to have the career that I've had and do it in a way where I've enjoyed myself with the people around me."
Saturday night's defeat follows Stosur's first-round exit from the Open women's doubles alongside Frenchwoman Alize Cornet.
The 38-year-old leaves the game as a legend of Australian tennis.
The defining moment of Stosur's illustrious career was unquestionably her 2011 US Open final triumph over Serena Williams in New York.
The epic victory, coming on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America, broke a 31-year grand slam singles title drought for Australian women.
A one-time world No.4, Stosur also held the Australian top ranking for 442 consecutive weeks between October 2008 and June 2017 - a record for a man or a woman.
While her US Open victory will go down in the history books as Stosur's crowning glory, the popular Queenslander was a claycourt giant of the game in her pomp.
She made the 2010 French Open final, falling to an inspired Francesca Schiavone after spectacularly taking out Williams and seven-times grand slam champion and former world No.1 Justine Henin en route to the title match.
Stosur made three other semi-finals at Roland Garros plus two more quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows.
She won the Australian Open women's doubles in 2019 with Zhang Shuai, as well as the mixed title in Melbourne way back in 2005 with countryman Scott Draper.
Elsewhere, Stosur claimed grand slam women's doubles titles at the 2006 French Open and at Flushing Meadows in 2005 and 2021, and spent 61 weeks atop the women's doubles world rankings.
She retires with the distinction of being one of only four Australian women - along with legends Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Lesley Bowrey - to win grand slam crowns in the singles, doubles and mixed formats of the game.
Tired of travelling and the general grind of the professional tour, Stosur craves spending more time with her family and two-year-old daughter Evie.
With on-court earnings of $A28.82 million, Stosur ranks No.22 in the list of all-time prize-money winners in women's tennis.