Serena Williams leaves press conference in tears after Australian Open exit
Serena Williams left her Australian Open press conference in tears after a semi-final defeat to Naomi Osaka.
Williams, the 23-time Grand Slam champion from the USA, was beaten in straight sets by the third seed as her hopes of equalling Margaret Court’s all-time major wins record were once again dashed.
After the 6-3 6-4 defeat, gave the crowd – who had returned to the Australian Open on Thursday after a five-day lockdown in Melbourne – a long goodbye, with her hand over her heart.
That prompted questions over her future and whether she would return to Melbourne Park as a player.
‘I don’t know,’ said the 39-year-old. ‘If I ever say farewell, I wouldn’t tell anyone.’
After being asked a further question about unforced errors made in the loss, she teared up and brought an end to the press conference.
‘I don’t know. I’m done,’ she said before walking out.
It was Williams’s first defeat in the semi-finals of the Australian Open and she lamented the ‘easy mistakes’ she made during the straight sets defeat.
She added: ‘The difference today was errors. I made so many errors today, so… Honestly, it was opportunities where I could have won. I could have been up 5-Love. I just made so many errors, so…
‘I felt well. I felt like I was hitting well. I was hitting well this whole tournament. Even the first couple games I played well. Even then I had so many opportunities.
‘Yeah, so it was just – I don’t know. Yeah, just made too many mistakes there, easy mistakes. Not like I was on the run or anything, they were just easy, easy mistakes.’
On Instagram after the match, she posted a tribute to the Aussie fans.
‘Today was not ideal outcome or performance but it happens,’ she wrote. ‘I am so honoured to be able to play in front of you all.
‘Your support – your cheers, I only wish I could have done better for you today. I am forever in debt and grateful to each and everyone single one of you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I adore you.’
Osaka will go on to face Williams’s compatriot Jennifer Brady in the final.
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