"The emotions on her face, the intensity in her eyes, her powerful strokes, the way she moves her body — there's no player more fun to shoot than Serena."
So says celebrated sports photographer Al Bello, who has been a fixture at Flushing Meadows Tennis Center for more than two decades. Over the years, Bello has shot many of the storied tournament's biggest players and most memorable moments — including one late-summer day in 1998 when he captured Serena Williams’ sparkling US Open debut. Since then, he’s followed Williams to multiple continents, covering dozens of her record 23 Grand Slam singles titles, including all six US Open victories. As Serena returns to Flushing Meadows for the first time since her remarkable comeback from complications due to pregnancy, FOTO asked Bello to look through thousands upon thousands of his images and share his favorite shots of the sports icon.
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