Serena Williams cut short her post-match press conference after breaking down in tears following her Australian Open semi-final defeat to Naomi Osaka; Speculation mounts as to whether the 39-year-old American will ever be back at Melbourne Park
Last Updated: 18/02/21 10:19am
Serena Williams bid a tearful farewell to the Australian Open amid questions about whether she may have played at the tournament for the last time.
Williams once again came up short in her 11th attempt to move level with Margaret Court’s record haul of 24 Grand Slam singles titles, and it is now 18 months since she made a final.
She gave the crowd inside the Rod Laver Arena a long wave goodbye with her hand on her heart following her 6-3 6-4 semi-final defeat by Japan’s Naomi Osaka.
The gesture prompted speculation about whether the 39-year-old would ever be back competing at Melbourne Park, where she has won the title seven times.
Williams’ record bid ended with another near-miss, having also reached the finals of four other Grand Slams since her last major crown at the Australian Open in 2017.
In her post-match press conference, Williams broke down when asked whether she had just had a bad day at the office.
She responded: “I don’t know. If I ever say farewell, I wouldn’t tell anyone. So…”
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 come up short in her 10th attempt to move level with Margaret Court’s haul of 24 major titles.
She had come to Melbourne Park seeking a 24th Grand Slam title but it was her 24th unforced error that ended her campaign against Osaka, who also beat her in the 2018 US Open final.
“I wouldn’t say I was nervous, no. The difference today was errors. I made so many errors today. Honestly, it was opportunities where I could have won. I could have been up five-love. I just made so many errors,” said Williams.
“I had a lot of forehand unforced errors. It was a big error day for me today.”
She added: “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. Just made too many mistakes there, easy mistakes. Not like I was on the run or anything, they were just easy, easy mistakes.”
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