Serena Williams suffered a shock defeat Monday at the hands of Russian Ekaterina Makarova 62, 6-3 in the fourth round. Serena who has been hampered by a left ankle injury all tournament had won 17 straight matches in Melborune and overall five titles.
The loss is Serena’s earliest at the Australian Open since 2006. Her last Slam title came at the 2010 Wimbledon event when she beat Vera Zvonareva.
The 30-year-old Serena spoke to the press afterward:
Q. What are your thoughts on that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I think she played really well. She went for broke on a lot of her shots. I made 37 errors. That kind of tells the story of the match.
Q. You looked sluggish out there, like you were having difficulty moving. Was it the heat? Anything wrong?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was definitely hot out there. Nothing really. I guess I just didn’t move the way I wanted to. I tried.
Q. Were you having particular problems moving to your left during the match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. It was definitely harder to move to that side.
But it’s okay. You know, just taking it still one day.
Q. Servingwise you had a couple decent games. For you that many doubles is real inconsistent.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I served like a I guess that’s not appropriate. I served, I don’t know. I can’t even describe how I served, to be honest.
It wasn’t good, though. My lefty serve is actually better than that. Maybe I should have started serving lefty.
Q. Is that because you weren’t getting a push off the ankle?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I just did not serve well. It was just disastrous really.
Q. Was it just a bad day at the office or were you not really a hundred percent?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know what, I never blame any injury that I have because I feel like, uhm, she played really well and she deserved the win today. I look forward to our next match. I feel like I definitely can play so much better.
And that’s good. Like if I felt like I couldn’t play better, then that would be a problem.
Q. What was your first sort of response when you think back through it? Anything that stands out? What is your initial response to the loss?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I always think about things that I can do better next time around. That’s usually how I kind of respond. I’m thinking already about practicing as soon as tomorrow, you know, trying to figure I can just think of a hundred things I can do.
So, like I said, it’s a good thing I’m in that position as opposed to saying I couldn’t do any better.
Q. Is there any one thing that you put it down to today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I served horrendous. That’s one of the 50 things.
Q. You said she played well against you. What gave you the most problems with her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I honestly think it was on my racquet. I hit a lot of errors. I mean, she hit some great shots down the line. But, I mean, every ball that came, I just hit it as far out as I could.
Q. You’ve had some incredible comebacks here. Azarenka a couple years ago, you were down a set and 40. Was there any point in the second set where you felt your game was going to come back, or were you just thinking it wasn’t going to happen for you today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I actually never feel like it’s not happening at all. I never give up. The whole time I was fighting, you know, trying to do my best to stay in the match.
Q. Did you have any sense this was coming in practice? Were you feeling okay before the match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I’m feeling fine. Obviously I’m not a hundred percent, and I haven’t been. But it’s no excuse or anything.
Q. We’ve seen you play your way into tournaments pretty often. Does this lack of matches make you more susceptible to having an off day like this?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don’t think so. I think it’s a lot. You know, usually I play myself into the tournament. But I don’t have a huge problem with an injury. So this is a completely different situation.
So usually it’s easier for me to play myself in ’cause I’m usually physically okay, so…
Q. If this wasn’t a slam, would you have played?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, no way. I probably shouldn’t have played. But no way.
Q. When do you think you’ll play next?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m gonna play Fed Cup. I look forward to that. Gosh, I was just thinking I want to pick up a tournament because I did so awful here. There’s no tournaments, unless I pick up Indian Wells, and we all know I’m not going there (smiling). It crossed my mind very briefly, like a nanosecond.
Q. You can play on clay in Acapulco.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah? I’m not that desperate. Maybe I’ll just work out for a long time.
Q. How important are the Olympics to you this year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, they’re very important to me. You know, I would love to be there and play, you know, try to do the best I can to get more medals for the USA. You know, playing on grass I think would be really cool. It would be fun. So I think it will be great.
Q. Do you get there’s a sense of a buzz amongst the players, that they all want to get there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely feel more of a buzz, you know, than last year. But then again, I wasn’t around much last year. Yeah, it seems like I see a lot of people, like Russians teaming together, playing doubles. I’m like, Hmm, I wonder if that could be our competition. I’m already thinking about that.
Q. Have you and Andy definitely decided you’re playing mixed together there or not?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, we haven’t decided anything at all. You know, I don’t know. It would be great. I would love to play singles, doubles, and mixed would be great, too. But what a schedule that would be.
Q. Decent chance Venus plays Fed Cup with you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah. I think she’ll be there. She’s been training, so I think she’ll be there.
Q. Are you surprised by how you feel right now? We’ve seen you come in after defeats and not project like you are now. Are you surprised by how you’re feeling?
SERENA WILLIAMS: What am I projecting?
Q. Seems like there’s perspective here. Seems like you’re motivated to go back out there. I think if you compare this to other press conferences after defeats, you’d agree that they’re a little different.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Am I usually angry? I don’t know. Crying? I don’t cry. So I don’t know what I usually project.
I feel like I didn’t play well today. I don’t feel like I can’t get better. I feel like if I was in a situation where, Wow, she played so great, and I played amazing, and I served 80%, and I hit no doublefaults, I didn’t hit 37 unforced errors, that would be a totally different situation.
You know, I didn’t play well. I’m not physically 100%. So it’s just like, you know, I can’t be so angry at myself, even though I’m very unhappy. I know that I can play a hundred times better than I did this whole tournament, so…
Q. What percentage would you say the ankle is?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I’ve been on meds, so I have no idea. Right now it feels good, so it’s fine.
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