Serena Williams' expected retirement will have to wait. The 23-time major champion won her first-round match 6-3, 6-3 over Danka Kovinic at the US Open on Monday night.

"You know, I always just got to do the best that I can," Williams said to the crowd after the match. "I feel so comfortable on this court, in front of everyone here.

"When I step out on the court, I just want to do my best that I can on that particular day. That's really all I can really do."

Since Williams, 40, announced her impending plans to "evolve" from tennis in a first-person essay in Vogue earlier this month, she has been given a farewell tour of sorts, and received standing ovations at both the Canadian Open and the Western & Southern Open.

On Monday night, the sold-out crowd here of nearly 24,000 -- which included a laundry list of A-list celebrities and notables, including former President Bill Clinton, Spike Lee, Lindsey Vonn, Bella Hadid, Rebel Wilson, Vera Wang, Mike Tyson, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Gladys Knight, Martina Navratilova and even Coco Gauff -- was on its feet before Williams even took the court.

"The reception was really overwhelming," Williams told reporters. "It was loud and I could feel it in my chest. It was a really good feeling. It's a feeling I'll never forget, so I really -- yeah, that meant a lot to me."

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It was Williams' 102nd win at Arthur Ashe Stadium -- the most by any player since it opened in 1997 -- and extended her record for Grand Slam victories by a woman to 366.

After the match, Williams was celebrated with an on-court ceremony that featured Gayle King and Billie Jean King, as well as a "Thank you, Serena" video from Oprah Winfrey.

"First of all, thanks, I didn't expect any of this," Williams told the crowd, before crediting the fans for pulling her through to the win.