In the surprise of the tournament, top seed and 5-time tournament champion Serena Williams was upset today by Ana Ivanovic 46, 63, 63 in the fourth round at the Australian Open.
The win was Ivanovic’s first over Serena Williams in five tries and it also snapped the world No. 1’s 25-match win streak.
Afterward, Serena admitted that a back injury had flared up in her previous win over Daniela Hantuchova on Friday. But the 32-year-old gave credit to Ivanovic, a former No. 1 and 2008 Australian Open finalist, for the victory.
Here’s Serena’s post-match presser:
Q. Right from the start, didn’t look like you were quite yourself today. Is everything okay?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely didn’t feel myself today, you know, going into the match.
It was fine.
Q. You have been struggling with your back in practice?
SERENA WILLIAMS: And how do you know that?
Q. That’s my job to know that.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it’s okay, you know. It wasn’t the best, but, you know, it was all Ana today. I thought she played really well.
Q. What went bad today? What happened?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I made a tremendous amount of errors, shots I missed I normally don’t miss. I haven’t missed since the ’80s. I’m just not used to missing those shots.
She made some good shots, and I just made way, way, a lot of unforced errors.
Q. Are you angry to lose?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I’m always disappointed when I lose, but it’s always a good thing. I plan on getting better. I think it’s almost good that I lost today because now I know what to work on I know what to do when I get on the practice court.
Q. Normally you hit a shot and you go forward. Today you were hitting a shot and you were going back. Do you have a problem on the back?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Like I said, I was just trying to do the best I could today. Maybe I wasn’t the best physically, but that had nothing to do with it.
I think Ana just played a really good match. She did what it takes to win.
Q. Seems every year in Australia you have something.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, maybe, maybe not. I have won this tournament five times, so it doesn’t I don’t think that necessarily means that I have something. I think I have done pretty well here. You know, in general, over the history.
I feel like I’ll win it again. Maybe just obviously not this year, but maybe next year.
Q. Ana drew a lot of support from the crowd. Did you feel the crowd was against you at all throughout the match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just felt like the crowd often goes for the underdog sometimes. And she was playing well, and she was hitting a lot of winners.
I don’t think the crowd was against me. I think they wanted Ana to play well.
Q. Were you taken by surprise by her performance and how much she’s improved perhaps in the last 12 months?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I have been watching her play a lot. I think I have seen her perform well. She hit a lot of great shots today. I wasn’t surprised at all, no.
Q. What is the issue with your back specifically?
SERENA WILLIAMS: To be honest, I don’t know. Like I said, actually, I have no idea.
Q. How long has it been troubling you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: A few days. A few days. But it is what it is. I mean, it’s not anything that’s life threatening or anything. You know, I feel like it will get better. I just need a couple days off.
Unfortunately I don’t have that in a Grand Slam. It will be okay, though.
Q. Patrick said that you blocked your back and then you blocked your neck.
SERENA WILLIAMS: So he’s the one that’s snitching? (Laughter.)
Q. No comment. And that you just couldn’t move and hit the way you usually do. Can you just tell us what was really happening out there with your body?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I guess secret is out, but I obviously wasn’t hitting the way I normally would hit and wasn’t moving the way I normally would move and making a lot of errors that I normally would not make and I haven’t made in a couple of years.
But it’s okay. You know, I feel like I know for a fact I can play so much better than what I did today, so with that, knowing that, I’m not disappointed or anything. I just know that I can play ten times better than what I did today.
Q. When you did retire from doubles, you were feeling worse or better than Venus? Which one of you was more injured?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. That’s a tough one (smiling).
Q. Patrick said before the Hantuchova match you were feeling worse and you were even thinking about pulling out possibly. How did you cope with the pain over the last few days and how it’s gotten better or not better since that moment?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, I almost pulled out. I’m such a competitor. I mean, I probably should have. Like I said, again, I don’t want to blame anything. I feel like Ana deserves all the credit. I feel she played unbelievable today. I think she went for her shots.
It’s not like I gave her the match. I tried to fight the best I could today. But, yeah, I didn’t almost didn’t play. But, hey, I did, and at least I feel good that I tried the best that I could on this day.
Q. You were almost on fire while the heat was on past couple weeks up in Brisbane and down here. Did the sudden change from really hot to really cold, maybe slower balls, stiffer muscles, do you feel the drastic change in weather affected you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was really hot in Brisbane and then it was a little cold first few days here and then it was hot again.
I feel like the warmer weather actually works better for me. I play good in the warm weather. I don’t think it was a problem.
Q. What kind of treatment have you taken on the back the last few days? Also, just the offseason, you had a different kind of offseason this year. Do you think that contributed in any way to what’s going on?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I have just been on some the strongest meds I can take, that are legal, which my body didn’t handle it well because I haven’t been taking anything. So I was like really kind of out of it for a few days.
But, no, I think my offseason was really good. And even though I didn’t play well today, I wasn’t tired at all. So I was super fit.
But like I said, I feel very encouraged to go home, and pain or no pain, just to start working even harder. Every time I lose I feel like I get better, and I’m going to definitely go home and do a tremendous amount better.
Q. It’s been three years now. Last three years you’ve had injuries: the two ankles and now the back. When you’re here, do you wait for the injury shoe to drop?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. Like I said, I don’t feel like I feel that because I have won this tournament five times. So, I mean, it is what it is.
At the end of the day it’s not the end of the world, and I keep stressing that I feel like Ana played really well. I think she played a really good match.
You know, I don’t want to sit here and make an excuse when she played such a great match.
Q. When you have something like you have, being a tennis player and being existing all these rules against doping, are you afraid to take the pill that help you to get better sooner? You have to check everything? Is that a worry that the player has?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, no, I definitely don’t like to take obviously I check. I always make sure with the doctors what I can take. Everything is clear and everything is good to take.
You know, I just always check and make sure I’m not doing anything bad, because the last thing I need is that in my life.
Q. With Serena Williams the bar is set so high. greatest player in the universe. Can she catch Crissy and Martina? But in your own mind, when you fall short at a slam like here or Wimbledon, what goes through your mind? What is your disappointment.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I always feel like I can do better and how I can improve. You know, as I fell at Wimbledon, I was able to get myself back up. Like I said, sometimes it’s good when I lose because it takes my head out of the clouds. Not that they are ever there, so to speak. I just work as if I’m ranked 1000 in the world.
Q. Some people have been talking about you winning all four slams this year.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I won’t (Laughter.)
Q. Is it disappointing that can’t happen now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I have given up on that a long time ago. I feel like I don’t even think about winning four in a row. Maybe I can win four in a row, but it seems like in the one year it’s kind of difficult for me for whatever reason.
Q. Possibility of playing Fed Cup?
SERENA WILLIAMS: When is Fed Cup? Yeah, it’s around the corner. I’m taking everything a day at a time. We’ll see. We’ll try.
Q. You paid credit to Ana today. Do you think she can win here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think if she played like she did today she’ll have a good chance to do well. You never know. People are playing really tough. Everyone in this competition is really hard and everyone is playing really tough, namely against me.
So, you know, you have to be able to be ready to play every match. I think she can do extremely well, and I hope she does well.
Q. Do you see Li Na strong favorite versus Pennetta?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Li Na/Pennetta? I think Li Na is always a favorite, but I don’t think anyone, as we can see, can underestimate Pennetta, because she was in the semifinals of US Open just recently and she’s obviously backed that up with the minimum of a quarterfinal here.
Q. What are your plans now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I’m going to go home and see my son. His name is Chip. So we’re going to spend some time together. I miss him.
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