Serena Williams was brought to tears in her press conference as she answered questions about a poignant gesture.
Serena Williams has prompted speculation that she was saying goodbye to the Australian Open for good after she was easily beaten by world No.3 Naomi Osaka in their semi-final.
After packing her bags and collecting herself to walk out of Rod Laver Arena following a 6-3 6-4 loss, Williams lingered for a moment, putting her hand on her heart as she gestured and waved to the crowd.
It appeared to be a thank you of sorts, and felt more poignant than her walks from the court after Grand Slam exits often do.
The manner of her farewell to the crowd was brought up in the press conference, with Williams unable to hold herself together as she answered.
Asked what was going through her head as she waved to the crowd, Williams replied: “I don’t know. The Aussie crowd is so amazing, so it was nice to see,” leading to the following exchange:
Q. Some people wondered if you were almost saying farewell.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. If I ever say farewell, I wouldn’t tell anyone (smiling). So…
Q. The unforced errors through the match, considering how well up you played to get to this stage, what do you feel caused that? Was it just one of those bad days at the office?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I’m done (tearing up).
The emotional moment at the end of the match and the press conference that followed it will undoubtedly renew speculation over the 39-year-old’s future after she once again fell short of the 24th Grand Slam title that would put her level pegging with Margaret Court at the top of the women’s game for major titles.
Earlier this week her coach Patrick Mouratoglou claimed that Serena didn’t care about the Grand Slam record because the comparison was Court was meaningless due to the fact that the Australian’s career straddled the Open era.
Yet it is a constant source of conversation, making it difficult to believe that the American champion isn’t motivated by the record.
It has now been four years since Williams won a Grand Slam, with the ageless wonder last lifting a major trophy in 2017, when she won her seventh Australian Open title while pregnant with her daughter Olympia.
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