‘If I ever say farewell, I wouldn’t tell anyone’: Serena Williams breaks down after Naomi Osaka defeat

Serena Williams was tearful after her defeat to Naomi Osaka

A tearful Serena Williams left her future in doubt after exiting the Australian Open at the hands of Naomi Osaka.

Williams waived goodbye to the crowd at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne with her hand on her heart, falling 6-3 6-4 in the semi-final loss.

Reporters questioned the 39-year-old’s gesture and whether it meant she would not be returning to compete at Melbourne Park, the home of seven of her 23 grand slam singles titles.

Williams responded with ambiguity: “I don’t know. If I ever say farewell, I wouldn’t tell anyone. So…”

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Williams then became tearful during the next question, a relatively mundane enquiry about her unforced errors during the match, and said: “I don’t know. I’m done,” before leaving the room.

Williams had once again came up short in her 10th attempt to move level with Margaret Court’s haul of 24 major titles.

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Japanese third seed Osaka, the champion in 2019, overcame a nervous start in front of a limited crowd, let back in after Victoria’s coronavirus lockdown was lifted.

From 2-0 down she won eight out of the next nine games before ultimately wrapping up victory in an hour and 15 minutes.

Osaka said on court: “I was really nervous and scared in the beginning but I eased my way into it.

“It was about having fun and it was the first day having a crowd for a while. It’s an honour to play her and I didn’t want to go out really bad so I just tried my best.

“I was a little kid watching her play so coming up against her on the court for me is a dream.”

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