The tennis world is mourning Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II, who died peacefully on Thursday afternoon at her summer residence, Balmoral Castle in Scotland, at the age of 96, the longest-serving monarch in British history.
The US Open honoured The Queen with a moment of silence at the start of Thursday night’s session in New York, which featured the women’s semi-finals, while many tributes were led by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on social media.
Federer shared his condolences, writing on Twitter: “I am deeply saddened by the passing of Her Royal Majesty. Her elegance, grace and loyalty to her duty will live on in history. I would like to send my thoughts and condolences to the entire Royal Family and Great Britain.”
Nadal wrote: “My most respectful, sincere and deepest condolences to the Royal Family of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and to the British people for the pass of Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II.”
In New York, an image of The Queen was displayed on the big screen inside Arthur Ashe Stadium as those present reflected on her long 70 year reign of service, including Caroline Garcia and Ons Jabeur who observed the moment of silence at the net ahead of their Last 4 match.
On her death, The Queen’s eldest son and heir, Charles, the former Prince of Wales, has become King Charles III of the United Kingdom and 14 Commonwealth realms at the age of 73, while his second wife, Camilla, will be known as the Queen Consort.
“It is a moment of great sadness for me and for the whole family,” the new King wrote in a statement. “We are deeply saddened by the passing of a dear Sovereign and a much loved Mother.
“I know her loss. it will be deeply felt across the country, the Kingdoms and the Commonwealth.
“During this time of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and supported by our awareness of the respect and deep affection in which the Queen was so widely regarded.”
The Queen’s favourite sporting pastime was horse racing, but she also maintained links to tennis and made occasional appearances at The Championships where she awarded Australia’s Rod Laver the Wimbledon singles trophy in 1962, and did the same for Britain’s Virginia Wade following her singles title in 1977 in her Silver Jubilee year.
Her last appearance at the All England Lawn Tennis Club was in 2010, where she was Patron 64 years, to watch Andy Murray beat Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen from the Royal Box.
During her visit The Queen met Federer and other tennis stars, including Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick, Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki.
“Just enjoyed sitting right next to her at lunch, really, and getting a chance to know what kind of a person she is, because you hear a lot obviously about people of her status,” Federer said at the time. “It was nice.
“She was very friendly, very relaxed. You could tell she’s done this a million times. She made everybody feel very special at the table, one of those things you’ll never forget, and be able to tell to your kids or someone down the line.”
Last year, The Queen sent a message to Emma Raducanu after the teenager stunned Leylah Fernandez in the US Open final to lift the trophy, saying: “I send my congratulations to you on your success in winning the United States Open Tennis Championships. It is a remarkable achievement at such a young age, and is testament to your hard work and dedication.
“I have no doubt your outstanding performance, and that of your opponent Leylah Fernandez, will inspire the next generation of tennis players. I send my warmest good wishes to you and your many supporters.”
The AELTC posted on wimbledon.com: “On behalf of all at the All England Club, we wish to convey our deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences to members of The Royal Family on the sad passing of Her Majesty The Queen.
“Her Majesty dedicated her life to the service of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth realms, duties she undertook with great wisdom, dignity and charm for 70 years.
“As our former Patron for 64 years, Her Majesty’s visits to The Championships in 1957, 1962, 1977 and 2010 were special moments in the Club’s history and were marked with enthusiasm and affection from spectators, players and colleagues alike.
“Particularly memorable was her visit in 1977, when Her Majesty attended The Championships during her Silver Jubilee. Accompanied that day by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, The Queen presented the Ladies’ Singles trophy to the champion, Britain’s Virginia Wade.
“Her Majesty most recently visited The Championships in 2010, during which she met with players past and present, including Andy Murray, Serena and Venus Williams, Roger Federer, Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King, as well as ball boys and girls, officials and players of the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative.
“During this saddest of times, we would like to pay tribute to Her Majesty for her long and unwavering service to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, to the All England Club and The Championships as our Patron, and recognise her extraordinary legacy as Britain’s longest-serving monarch.”
Scott Lloyd, Chief Executive of the LTA, also made a statement: “On behalf of the LTA and the tennis community in Great Britain I would like to pay tribute to Her Majesty The Queen.
“Her Majesty dedicated her life to public service throughout her 70 year reign. She was universally admired and respected throughout the country and supported many charities and organisations unstintingly.
“She graciously gave up her time to open our own National Tennis Centre at Roehampton and meet our British players in 2007.
“Her loss will be felt across the country and throughout the Commonwealth. Our sport joins the rest of the country in sending our sincere condolences to the Royal Family.”
The reign of The Queen, who came to the throne in 1952, spanned austerity in the wake of the Second World War, the transition away from the British Empire to the Commonwealth, and the UK’s entry into the European Union as well as its subsequent exit.
During her tenure as Head of State, she also saw 15 Prime Ministers take office, including the latest, Liz Truss, whom she met on Tuesday at Balmoral.
The Queen tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this year and had rarely been seen in public recently, although she did make a couple of appearances at her Platinum Jubilee celebrations in July.
News broke of her deteriorating condition on Thursday morning, and Buckingham Palace confirmed later that she had died in a statement that read: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and the Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”
The US Open is held in the New York borough of Queens, which is believed to be named for another late monarch, Catherine of Braganza, who was the Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland during her marriage to King Charles II from 1662 until 1685.
Away from her official duties, The Queen was a devoted wife and mother to 4 children, and dedicated grandmother to 8 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
She was more widely travelled than any other international leader and the world’s oldest Head of State, always using her own distinctive form of quiet diplomacy to represent the United Kingdom around the world.
In 2015, she also became the longest-serving British monarch in history, passing the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.
As Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II was widely regarded as a symbol of stability, working tirelessly to ensure the monarchy remained relevant during a period of immense social, technological, and economic change.
The Queen was a monarch without equal, who is now being mourned across the globe.