Serena Williams says the chances of her returning to the court are "very high", despite declaring her intention to step away from tennis before the US Open last month.

Though she deliberately avoided saying she would retire prior to the tournament, instead saying she planned to "evolve" away from the sport, many believed Williams' third-round exit at Flushing Meadows last month was the last time she would be seen playing competitive tennis.

Her defeat to Ajla Tomljanovic was met with the kind of fanfare that suggested she was calling it a day on an illustrious career that included 23 grand slam titles, the second most in history behind Margaret Court.

But Williams implied she could yet step on the court again when speaking at a TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco on Wednesday.

In quotes collected by the San Francisco Standard, Williams said: "I am not retired.

"The chances [of me returning] are very high. You can come to my house and [see] I have a court."

Coco Gauff believes her and fellow teen Robin Montgomery are products of Venus and Serena Williams' legacy as the Roland Garros runner-up looks to inspire the next generation of African-American talent.

The two 18-year-old Americans collided in the opening round of the San Diego Open, with Gauff prevailing 6-3 6-3 in what was her first match since defeat by Caroline Garcia in the US Open quarter-finals last month.

This season's Roland Garros finalist is widely believed to be the next dominant player from her nation following the retirement of Serena Williams at Flushing Meadows.

Along with sister Venus, the Williams sisters won a combined 30 major singles titles during their highly decorated careers, as well as 14 grand slam triumphs in women's doubles, in which they are also the only pair to win a career golden slam.

And Gauff hopes she can follow the sisters' well-trodden footsteps, while also going on to serve as an inspiration herself.

"It definitely affects the future a lot," she said during her post-match interview. "If Serena and Venus saw this today; two 18-year-olds - both African-American - playing on the WTA 500 level - I think they would be proud.

"I think both of us are products of their legacy. I'm grateful that I had those examples to follow after, and I hope I can be an example myself."

On the match, she said: "It was the first time playing someone younger than me in probably at least seven years. It was definitely a different feeling for me.

"I know Robin very well, we went on a couple of USTA trips back when we were about eight-years-old. She played really well, I expected a good level from her. I was pretty impressed with how well she was striking the ball; it was difficult for me."

Rafael Nadal has declared his career is "far from" over despite an injury-plagued 2022.

The 22-time grand slam champion has won both the Australian and French Opens this year despite suffering numerous injuries, while seeing other stars hang up their rackets.

Serena Williams announced her intention to retire ahead of the US Open, with Roger Federer following suit as he prepares for a farewell at this week's Laver Cup.

However, speaking after receiving the 'Camino Real Award' from King Felipe VI at the University of Alcala, the 36-year-old made it clear he does not intend to do likewise.

"It is also true that it has been a complicated year, not only because of injuries, which have followed me throughout my career, but also because of personal and family news, which in this case is very good news," he said.

"It is for this reason that, in a year full of joys and difficult moments, to receive recognition like today's is a great joy.

"I hope that this event does not imply that my career is over, far from it, or at least that is not the intention.

"The intention is to continue to carry the name of Spain around the world while I am still active and competing."

Nadal is set to compete alongside Federer at the Laver Cup in London, with Team Europe also featuring Casper Ruud, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

Team Europe have won all four previous editions of the Laver Cup, including a 14-1 thrashing of Team World in Boston last year.

Serena Williams has paid tribute to retiring 20-time grand slam winner Roger Federer, describing her admiration for him and welcoming him "to the retirement club".

The 41-year-old confirmed on Thursday that he would bring an end to his illustrious playing career after the Laver Cup later this month.

Federer's announcement comes only weeks after 23-time major winner Williams declared her intention to step away from tennis, culminating at the US Open earlier this month where she bowed out in the third round.

The Swiss icon will bow out with 20 major titles to his name, a feat bettered by only two male players – Rafael Nadal (22) and Novak Djokovic (21). Williams sits behind only Margaret Court (24) for women's singles major titles.

"I wanted to find the perfect way to say this, as you so eloquently put this game to rest – perfectly done, just like your career," Williams wrote on Instagram.

"I have always looked up to you and admired you. Our paths were always so similar, so much the same.

"You inspired countless millions and millions of people – including me – and we will never forget. I applaud you and look forward to all that you do in the future.

"Welcome to the retirement club. And thank you for being you @rogerfederer."

Williams has deliberately avoided the use of the word retirement since declaring her intention to 'evolve' away from tennis, meaning the latter comment is of note.

The 40-year-old American has teased at a potential return to tennis, saying on Good Morning America this week that "Tom Brady started a really cool trend", referencing his decision to come out of retirement.

Marion Bartoli says she feels "a sense of sadness" after Roger Federer announced his retirement from tennis, just weeks after Serena Williams' grand slam swansong.

Federer – a 20-time major champion – revealed on Thursday that he had made the "bittersweet decision" to end his glittering career, with next week's Laver Cup being his farewell tournament.

The announcement comes just over two weeks after Williams made her final slam appearance at the US Open, and 2017 Wimbledon champion Bartoli believes it represents "the end of an era" for the sport. 

When asked for her reaction, Bartoli told Stats Perform: "A sense of sadness, obviously, because we lost in the space of two weeks Serena [Williams] and Roger Federer who are basically two of the biggest stars that ever played the game, and two of the greatest who have ever played the game.

"I sense it was the end of an era almost because they have been part of my journey. When I was playing, Roger was obviously at his peak winning a lot of things and then Serena as well and now coming to see both of them taking their retirement almost at the same time.

"I feel like that book is almost closed, and now we are moving to the new generation of players with Carlos Alcaraz and all of them, but Novak [Djokovic] and Rafa [Nadal] are still hanging on.

"A sense of sadness obviously, but then completely understand his decision from what he had to face in the past three years."

Bartoli, who was also runner-up at the All England Club in 2007, thinks there are many players capable of challenging for the major titles in years to come.

Although, she does not see any player dominating tennis in the same manner as the 'Big Three' in Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

"I think our Alcaraz will very much be in the mix, but I don't think we will see one player being at 20 grand slams in 15 or 20 years, I don't believe it," she said.

"I think those three have been more than even superhuman. They've brought tennis to a level of consistency that, and along with Serena as well, I don't think anyone will be able to replicate that.

"When you see Carlos, he had an amazing US Open, just an incredible achievement. But Novak was not there, Rafa was injured, Roger doesn't play anymore, [Stefanos] Tsitsipas lost in the first round, [Alexander] Zverev can't play.

"It's just a lot of circumstances, and he had to save two match points against [Jannik] Sinner. So I don't see him dominating tennis as Roger did, or Novak did or Rafa did for the next 20 years, I just don't see it. 

"I think that the level between each other, it's very close. You don't see a major gap. So I think we'll have maybe Carlos winning one and then Sinner winning one, Zverev finally winning one and then Medvedev winning more.

"It's just going to keep rotating between maybe five or six names, but I don't think will be one name that keeps winning everything."

Roger Federer ranks among sporting greats such as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Tom Brady.

That was the message from 2013 Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli, who hailed Federer after he announced his appearance at September's Laver Cup would be his last in professional sport.

The 41-year-old won 20 grand slam titles across a legendary 24-year career, only Novak Djokovic (21) and Rafael Nadal (22) can boast more major crowns in men's tennis.

Federer has also won more men's singles main draw matches in grand slam tournaments than any other player in the Open Era (369), leaving behind a magnificent legacy as he prepares to step away from the court.

Bartoli has experienced retirement herself, having called quits on her career after a failed comeback from injury in 2018, and asked by Stats Perform whether Federer was a GOAT – greatest of all-time – Bartoli said: "Yes, he is very much in there – absolutely.

"Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, they are people that transcend their sports – they are icons.

"You go in the streets, you say Roger Federer. I'm in Dubai right now [and if] you say 'Roger Federer' everyone would know who he is. And the same for LeBron and Michael Jordan.

"When you transcend your sport and you become an icon and everyone knows who you are, that's when you know you have been one of the greatest of all time across every sport.

"Same for Serena [Williams], you can put Novak and Rafa in there as well. But it's just that amount of fame and that amount of inspiring [the next] generation."

Having spent 237 consecutive weeks ranked as number one, Federer holds the record for the longest such streak in men's singles history after a four-and-a-half-year spell at the summit.

Federer was also present in the top 10 of the men's singles rankings for 750 weeks, an unmatched number for a male player since the rankings were first published in 1973.

Regardless of Federer trailing Djokovic and Nadal for grand slam titles, Bartoli believes the Swiss remains the best of the trio due to his elegant playing style.

"It's very much depending on your own taste in a way. If you like beautiful, elegant, smooth tennis you have to go for Roger Federer," she added.

"Now obviously with Novak having 21 and Rafa having 22 grand slams, if we speak numbers only then you have two players on top of him.

"But I think it's very much a debate because it depends on the style of play you like and, that said, I absolutely love to see Novak play and win.

"I absolutely loved to see Rafa winning again at Roland Garros this year, I think it was one of the most incredible sports achievements that you can possibly witness.

"But in terms of game style, and the way he has revolutionised tennis, I think Roger was the first one. And then they pushed each other to new heights and I think that was really special to see."

While many youngsters look to emulate Federer, Djokovic and Nadal, Bartoli highlighted the importance of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, too.

"You can tell how much impact a player [has] when you see a new generation trying to copy your style. I think Pete Sampras had that impact as well as Andre Agassi on the generation of Roger, Rafa and Novak," she continued.

"Roger has had that impact on the new generation with Carlos Alcaraz. So that's why I say that he was really the first one to elevate the game to another level because he brought that dimension of his forehand when he was really almost able to play the ball wherever he wanted.

"I always remember that sentence from Andre Agassi, when he started to play against Roger saying, 'well, I never felt against anybody that I had to play on a 20-centimetre square because that's the only safe spot I can play, which is deep to Roger's back. If I play anywhere, he will take the game away from me'. [Federer] was the first one to [do that] and then obviously Rafa and Novak arrived and sought to change that and they pushed each other to new heights.

"When you have the pinnacle of the 2008 Wimbledon final and all those matches in between them that was just beyond epic for me."

Serena Williams joked NFL superstar Brady "started an amazing trend" as she hinted at a possible return to tennis in the future.

Williams, a 23-time grand slam champion, revealed before the US Open she was soon to retire from the sport, with her Flushing Meadows run widely expected to mark the end of her career.

The 40-year-old exited her home major at the hands of Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round but was unwilling to categorically state if she was retiring.

Speaking at a news conference after that loss to Tomljanovic two weeks ago, Williams said: "I've come a long way since last year at Wimbledon. I'm just not sure if that was my last moment or not."

Some of the biggest names from around the sporting world have since paid tribute to Williams, but she has offered a further indication she is not done just yet.

"Tom Brady started an amazing trend. That's what I want to say," Williams said during an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Brady announced his retirement in February after 22 seasons in the NFL, only to reverse that decision 40 days later by agreeing to return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"I think retirement is something that is super earned and that people work really hard for," Williams added.

"I feel like I'm at an age where I definitely have a lot more to give and there's a lot more that I want to do, so I'm not going to be relaxing, there's so much more for me.

"I feel it's more of an evolution of Serena. There's many things I've been wanting to do for so many years, and I've had such a passion for tennis for so long I've never done them.

"Now it's time for me to start to enjoy those things."

Margaret Court does not believe Serena Williams has ever "admired" her and claims the modern game is significantly easier than it was in her own era.

Williams, widely considered one of the greatest sportspeople of all time, stepped away from top-level tennis following defeat to Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round of the US Open.

Although her time on tour now looks to be over, the 40-year-old admitted "you never know" when asked about future appearances, but a U-turn is widely considered to be highly improbable.

Williams is bowing out with 23 grand slam singles wins – one fewer than record holder Court.

Court, 80, is a Pentecostal church pastor now and has been criticised in recent years for comments about race, homosexuality and the transgender community.

She was blunt when asked about her feelings on Williams, telling the Telegraph: "Serena, I've admired her as a player. But I don't think she has ever admired me."

Court won her grand slam singles titles between 1960 and 1973, and the Australian believes players in the modern era have it much easier than she did during her remarkable career.

"I would love to have played in this era; I think it's so much easier," she said. "How I would love to have taken family or friends along with me. But I couldn't, I had to go on my own or with the national team.

"People don't see all that. As amateurs, we had to play every week, because we didn't have any money. Now, they can take off whenever they want, fly back whenever they want.

"We would be away for 10 months. That's why I first retired in 1965, because I used to get homesick. You might be with the odd other person, but it's not like having your family there.

"We didn't have psychologists or coaches with us. It's a whole different world. That's what disappoints me; that players today don't honour the past of the game."

Margaret Court does not believe Serena Williams has ever "admired" her and claims the modern game is significantly easier than it was in her own era.

Williams, widely considered one of the greatest sportspeople of all time, stepped away from top-level tennis following defeat to Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round of the US Open.

Although her time on tour now looks to be over, the 40-year-old admitted "you never know" when asked about future appearances, but a U-turn is widely considered to be highly improbable.

Williams is bowing out with 23 grand slam singles wins – one fewer than record holder Court.

Court, 80, is a Pentecostal church pastor now and has been criticised in recent years for comments about race, homosexuality and the transgender community.

She was blunt when asked about her feelings on Williams, telling the Telegraph: "Serena, I've admired her as a player. But I don't think she has ever admired me."

Court won her grand slam singles titles between 1960 and 1973, and the Australian believes players in the modern era have it much easier than she did during her remarkable career.

"I would love to have played in this era; I think it's so much easier," she said. "How I would love to have taken family or friends along with me. But I couldn't, I had to go on my own or with the national team.

"People don't see all that. As amateurs, we had to play every week, because we didn't have any money. Now, they can take off whenever they want, fly back whenever they want.

"We would be away for 10 months. That's why I first retired in 1965, because I used to get homesick. You might be with the odd other person, but it's not like having your family there.

"We didn't have psychologists or coaches with us. It's a whole different world. That's what disappoints me; that players today don't honour the past of the game."

Matteo Berrettini outlined his desire to see Roger Federer return to the court as he compared the 20-time grand slam champion to retiring legend Serena Williams.

Federer has not played competitively since losing to Hubert Hurkacz in the Wimbledon quarter-finals last year, and has since undergone his third knee surgery in two years.

But the 41-year-old is hopeful of returning to the court for this month's Laver Cup, where he is set to team up with Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic for Team Europe.

Federer recently shared an encouraging video of a practice session on social media after stepping up his rehabilitation. 

With tennis set to lose one legend after Williams' final US Open campaign was ended by Ajla Tomljanovic on Friday, the return of Federer would represent a major boost for the sport.

Speaking after beating Murray in the third round at Flushing Meadows, Berrettini said: "I think I said it so many times. Probably it's never going to be enough. One of the reasons why I'm here now is Roger. 

"He was my idol when I was growing up. I was cheering for him, so I want him back really badly.

"He's just like Serena, I guess, one of a kind, you know?

"I wish him a really speedy recovery in whatever he's doing to come back. I wish I could play one more time against him."

Berrettini has lost each of his two tour-level matches against Federer, including a straight-sets defeat at Wimbledon in 2019.

Nick Kyrgios believes no other player will be able to emulate the career Serena Williams has enjoyed, after the grand slam great confirmed her retirement.

Williams went down 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 to Ajla Tomljanovic – Kyrgios' former partner – on Friday in the third round of the US Open.

That brought an end to her playing career, though the 40-year-old suggested she would leave the door open for a potential return.

Kyrgios, who defeated J.J. Wolf to set up a contest with reigning men's champion Daniil Medvedev, is in awe of what Williams has achieved, as he ranked the 23-time grand slam champion alongside Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

"She's had a career that I don’t think no one else will emulate," Kyrgios said.

"You've got a couple on the men’s side who are trying to catch her in grand slams, but Nadal, Serena, Federer, Novak, these are once in a generation athletes – I wouldn't even put myself in the same category, ever.

"It's a special moment for her, she played extremely well, she won two matches and nearly got on top [against Tomljanovic], it's a hell of a way to go out.

"I just appreciate what she's done and I'm sure everyone in this building does as well."

After beating Wu Yibing, world number one Medvedev said of Williams: "That was a crazy match, it was close to being three hours.

"It's definitely a pity that she lost. If it's the last match of her career, it was definitely an amazing match and she was really close to winning.

"Ajla played at a great level, it was not easy against the crowd and it was a high-level match."

Williams bows out with the most grand slam wins in the Open Era of any player, male or female.

Ajla Tomljanovic explained she just had to block out the noise surrounding Serena Williams in order to progress at the US Open.

Williams' called time on her illustrious career following Friday's 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 loss to Tomljanovic, though did leave the door open to a possible return.

The 40-year-old had announced her impending retirement last month in Vogue, and before each of the three matches she played at Flushing Meadows, the tournament organisers paid tribute to the 23-time grand slam champion.

Williams had the backing of the crowd against Tomljanovic, who knew she had to cut through the background noise and focus on her game.

"I'd say the biggest thing was just to block out all the noise. At the end of the day I tried to keep it simple," she said.

"It's just another tennis match for me. I'm happy to be in the third round and have a great opportunity to play on Arthur Ashe. It's what I dreamed of when I was a kid. Just not make it bigger than it is because everyone else already made it huge.

"From the first moment I walked on court, I didn't really look around much. I was completely in my own little bubble."

Tomljanovic will face Ludmilla Samsonova in the next round and is already putting her win over Williams to one side.

"It's already kind of in the past. I mean, I'm happy I won, I actually think a little too quickly about the next one! I never feel like I have a problem with that. I have more of an issue chilling out and taking it easy the next day," she said.

Williams did not bow out without a fight, saving five match points in the deciding set before finally falling short.

"I stopped counting after the second [match point]," Tomljanovic said. "You know what, every match point she saved, it was all credit to her. I didn't feel like I did much wrong.

"I had this weird calmness because I felt like if I get broken, I mean, so what? Serena broke me. Wow, I'm just like the next person she broke when she's down 5-1.

"I know she comes up with her best tennis when she's in the most trouble. I didn't feel like I'm choking it away or something. I just kept calm and actually took a page of her book."

Ajla Tomljanovic had conflicting emotions after beating Serena Williams, as she admitted she felt like a "villain".

Williams' called time on her illustrious career following Friday's 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 loss to the Australian, though did leave the door open to a possible return.

The 23-time grand slam champion did not let it go easy, clawing back five match points before Tomljanovic finally clinched the deciding set.

While Tomljanovic is sad to see Williams go, she could not say she was sad to have won, sealing a place for herself in tennis history in the process.

"No one's going to pronounce my name right," she quipped after it was suggested she would now be the answer to a common trivia question regarding Williams' final opponent.

"That's going to suck. I don't think I've of been part of tennis history [before], so that's pretty cool.

"I do feel a little bit like the villain. Like I said in Cincinnati, I really did want to play Serena before she retired. If I was the loser today I'd probably be really sad. I don't want to say I'm sad, but just conflicted.

"Probably the most conflicted I've ever felt after a win. During the match I was so eager to win. I mean, I wanted to win as much as the next person because I didn't look at her like, 'oh, Serena, her last tournament'. 

"But then when it ended, it almost didn't feel right. When she started talking about her family and everything, I got emotional because I can relate to having a strong bond with your family.

"When she said that she wouldn't be there if it wasn't for them, I relate to that a lot. Just the whole moment after was just tough to handle a little bit."

Asked what Williams meant to her, Tomljanovic replied: "Growing up I didn't really have idols, but Serena and Venus [Williams] were just so good that I looked up to them the most, I'd say.

"What always drew me to them was their bond with their family, like the togetherness. They always spoke about that, like it was so important to them. I can relate to that because I'm very close to my family and I wouldn't be where I am without them.

"From a young age I remember seeing them with their dad and thinking that's kind of like my story a little bit. Just the fact that you don't have to have anything other than supportive family, a dream, and just will and passion and love for the game to make it. Not just make it, but what she's achieved is absolutely incredible.

"I don't know if it's ever going to be repeated while I'm still around. I still have years left in me. I want to dream bigger than I have so far because that's what she embodies."

Williams bows out with the most grand slam titles in the Open Era, though one short of Margaret Court's all-time record of 24.

Tributes have poured in across the sporting world for Serena Williams following her apparent US Open swansong on Friday, though the 23-time grand slam winner has kept the door ajar on a shock return.

The American, widely considered one of the greatest sportspeople of all time, suggested she would step away from top-level tennis following the tournament at Flushing Meadows.

Following a 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 loss to Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round, her journey now looks to be over – though the 40-year-old admittted "you never know" when asked about future appearances.

Her likely last dance, however, has prompted an outpouring of glowing tributes from far and wide, with a host of major names paying their respects to an unparalleld career.

15-time major-winning golfer Tiger Woods called her "the greatest on and off the court" while four-time NBA champion LeBron James hailed her as "so dope".

Serena Williams' long and illustrious tennis career looks to have drawn to a close after the American lost to Ajla Tomljanovic at the US Open on Friday. 

Following a long piece in Vogue last month, Williams wrote of her plan to "move in a different direction" after "these next few weeks", suggesting the tournament at Flushing Meadows would be her last outing.

Thanks to her success and brilliance on the court, Williams has become synonymous with tennis and is regarded by many as the greatest the women's sport has ever seen.

At the age of 40, Williams has persisted with tennis far longer than most do, and that is testament to her quality and enduring desire for success.

Though Williams left a glimmer of a chance that she may yet play again, joking that she "always did love Australia", she may well have taken to the court for the last time. Here, Stats Perform takes a look at the key facts, stats and figures of her career; in other words, Serena's remarkable legacy.

Twenty-three… and done?

Of course, the headline fact for Williams' career is her grand slam titles count.

She has won 23, which is more than anyone else in the Open era.

But she still had one target left: matching Margaret Court. The Australian's 24 grand slam successes include nine won before the Open era began in 1968, though her overall total has been the benchmark ever since she claimed her final crown at the US Open in 1975.

Clearly, victory for Williams at Flushing Meadows would have been the perfect farewell, but it was not to be. Will that near-miss encourage her to take one more shot in Court's homeland next year?

 

The finals hurdle

Had Williams managed to reach the championship match in Queens, she would have equalled another record.

She headed into the US Open having played in 33 grand slam finals, one more than Martina Navratilova.

But Chris Evert (34) sits out in front, and that record is now set to remain hers for many, many years.

Top of the pile

It's been a while now since Williams was last the highest-ranked player in the world, but in a way that only further highlights how remarkable her career has been.

She's spent 319 weeks ranked as world number one, which is behind only Steffi Graf (377) and Navratilova (332).

While many might have expected Williams to have been top of the pile for even longer, it's worth remembering how she's spent time out due to injuries and pregnancy, with her general involvement in top-level tennis decreasing after 2014 when she played 16 tournaments – in 2016 that halved to eight, and during no year since has she played in more.

Additionally, some will also be surprised to learn she actually only finished the year as the top-ranked female player five times. Nevertheless, that's still third to only Graf (eight) and Navratilova (seven).

Go hard or go home

Such has been Williams' quality, she was always considered a threat regardless of the surface – she's won each grand slam at least three times.

But there's no denying she was at her most lethal on hard courts.

She has won 48 WTA Tour-level titles on hard courts, which is 11 more than anyone else (Graf) in the Open era.

Those 48 come from a grand total of 73 across all surfaces, leaving her ranked fifth behind Navratilova (167), Evert (157), Graf (107) and Court (92).

 

Surface to say…

Williams' comfort on hard courts goes even further than that.

She's won 541 matches on the surface, making her one of just two female players to surpass 500 victories on one specific ground type.

Navratilova (600 on carpet) is the only other player to achieve the feat, with Serena's sister Venus (498 on hard) the closest to the 23-time grand slam champion.

The grass is greener

Despite that unrivalled excellence, hard courts may not be the surface many feel to be most synonymous with Williams, however.

Wimbledon is the tournament that would appear to be her favourite.

She's reached the final at SW19 11 times. Only Navratilova can better that record for the most finals at one tournament – though it's worth saying she contested the WTA Finals and Chicago 14 times each, Eastbourne 13 times and 12 at Wimbledon.

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