Tournament Favorite Serena Williams Stunned In First Round Loss At French Open
by Staff | May 29th, 2012, 4:47 pm

In one of the most shocking upsets in women’s tennis history, tournament favorite Serena Williams was stunned today in the first round of the French Open losing to French Veteran Virginie Razzano 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-3.

Serena entered the tournament in-form and riding a 17-match win streak on the clay surface, and she’d been dominant all spring.

But the 13-time Slam champ’s game began to unravel once she led Razzano 5-1 in the second set tiebreak.

Razzano won the last six points of the breaker, then jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the final set, as Serena’s error count piled up.

Serena fought back but Razzano closed it out on her 8th matchpoint 6-3 when the umpire confirmed Williams’s ball landed long. The win was quite an accomplishment for the 29-year-old Razzano who tragically suffered the loss of her coach/fiance last May just before the French Open.

”I had to dig deep against a great champion and you could see until the end that she gave away nothing,” Razzano said. ”I had to go and get the victory. I had to be mentally strong, and I gave my everything.”

The defeat was Serena’s first in a Grand Slam first round match in her career. She was 46-0 in first round Grand Slam matches.

Serena, who’s last Grand Slam title came at 2010 Wimbledon, will now look ahead to mixed doubles play with Bob Bryan.

After a sparkling 10-0 start to the tournament, American women went 0-2 today with Serena and Jamie Hampton losing.

Serena’s presser is below:

Q. I know you just finished the match and it’s hard to describe. Just kind of talk about from 5­1 in the second set breaker on, what kind of happened there?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I just started making a lot of errors. I mean, the whole match, I just didn’t play at all the way I have been practicing.

So, yeah, I just made ­­ I don’t know how many errors I ended up making, but I haven’t been playing like that in the past.

Q. Do you want to talk about the last game? You climbed back to 5­3. I think five or six break­point opportunities. Couldn’t get over the hump?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I tried. I kept going for my shots which always works for me.

It didn’t work out today, but, um, yeah, I just wasn’t ­­ I made so many errors today which isn’t the game that I’ve been playing in the past. You know, that’s it. That’s life.

Q. Can I just ask you about the breaker again? Were there nerves? There was that one ball you decided to challenge. I think it was around 5­3 that you could easily have hit back on the lob. Talk about that.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely was nervous. I’m always a little nervous in every match I play, which I think is a little bit healthy.

So, yeah, I mean, I think it’s normal. I was definitely a little nervous.

But, yeah, there’s no excuse maybe. I thought it was out, and then it wasn’t. So…

Q. Did you sort of feel the match slipping away? Could you talk about that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Um, yeah, no, I never really feel anything slipping away or anything. I just ­­ I just felt I couldn’t get a ball in play. You know, when I did ­­ I just felt like I was hitting late and, I mean, how can you hit late on a clay court? It was kind of odd.

So, yeah.

Q. What was going on in your head in that incredible last game? What were some of your thoughts?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I thought, you know, just staying, get it back to deuce. Then I thought, whatever you do, don’t get it back to deuce at one point, couple times.

But that didn’t work. I just was thinking, okay, if I could break here, then we’ll be back on serve. You know, those are the kind of things that are going through your head.

Q. Did you ­­ right at the end of the tiebreaker you grabbed your back a couple times. Did you pull anything? Did you feel anything abnormal?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, no, no, I didn’t feel anything abnormal. I was 100% healthy.

Q. I would like to know if you knew about Virginie’s story, about her husband who she has lost last year. She’s a very special player for us in France. Did you know her story and what do you think of what she did today?


That’s a bit of an intricate question. I ­­ yeah, I know of her story and her husband. We all have stories. I mean, I almost died and Venus is struggling herself. So, you know, it’s life. You know, it just depends on how you deal with it. She obviously is dealing with it really well.

Everybody, like Mardy Fish, he’s even having trouble. Everybody has something that they’re dealing with. You’ve just got to deal with it.

Q. What about her performance today on the court?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think she can give you a better idea than I can. (Smiling.)

Q. At the end of the second set you went very emotional before the start of the serve. What was going through your mind after losing this? Was it anger, frustration?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I just think, you know, always think, okay, let’s just try to get a good start to this third set. You know, the match isn’t over yet. So that’s kind of what I was trying to do.

Q. Everyone has his own nightmares. I’d like to know if Eva Asderaki is one of your nightmares.


Q. Eva Asderaki, the umpire, because you met her other times.


Q. When see her, is it a nightmare?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, you know, she’s not a favorite amongst the tour, but, you know, I was like ­­ I don’t know. Was she the one that did my US Open last match last year?

Q. Yes.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I just really had a flashback there. (Laughter.)

Interference, replay the point, and I said, (demonstrating with hands up). Same thing what happened to me in New York. I mean, hello, you know. She didn’t give me that opportunity, though. She was just like, Interference, point penalty.

So I don’t know.

Q. I’m still sort of processing this. We have seen you come into some big tournaments where you’re coming off injuries or you haven’t had a lot of matches, but how are you going to process this and sort of move on? It’s got to be pretty disappointing.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it is disappointing. But it’s life. Things could be a lot worse. I haven’t had the easiest past six months. Nothing I can’t deal with.

Q. Similar question. You had such good clay court season. You’ve just come off a really tough loss. Can you try and put it in perspective in terms of your hopes for Roland Garros and the clay season?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I have to put it in perspective. My Roland Garros so happens to be over.

So, you know, I’m in mixed doubles, so hopefully I can do better, win a match in that event.

So, yeah. Did I answer your question?

Q. Sort of. So you still have high hopes for the rest of the summer, I presume?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, yeah. I’ve just got to, you know, go back and ­­ it’s the same thing. You know, just figure out what I did wrong and not do it again, you know, learn from it. I think that’s the best thing I can do.

Q. With what he said, maybe five, six, seven years ago, maybe a few years ago you would take losses a lot tougher mood­wise? You seem to have a lot more perspective. Talk about that and why.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. You know, I’ve been through so much in my life, and ­­ yeah. I’m not here ­­ I’m not happy, by no means. I just always think things can be worse.

You Might Like:
Two-Time Winner Serena Williams Withdraws From Madrid
Poll: Better Chance Of Winning The French Open: Rafael Nadal Or Serena Williams?
Coach: After Painful US Open Loss, Serena Williams Might Not Play Again This Season
An Elbow Injury Forces Serena Williams Out Of Rome, Gives 3rd Walkover In Last 6 Events
Serena, Venus Slammed At The French Open On Same Day, All-Williams Third Rounder Foiled

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

28 Comments for Tournament Favorite Serena Williams Stunned In First Round Loss At French Open

Polo Says:

I keep wondering what would have happened had Serena been the one assessed the point penalties for hindrance instead of Razzano.

alison hodge Says:

Polo i dont know if if was just my imagination,but at point when Razzano was given a point penalty,she actually shook her head and looked at the umpire,as if to say i feel sorry for Razzano,as i know exactly how she feels,like i say might be just me though.

Polo Says:

I noticed that too, alison. Serena did shake her head. I guess Serena does not like that kind of point penalty regardless of who gets it. I could not understand that point penalty at all considering how loudly Sharapova and Azarenka shriek from beginning to the end of all their matches and never even merits a warning from the umpires.

alison hodge Says:

Polo yeah completely agree about the Azarenka/Sharapova shrieking,completely OTT.

Kimmi Says:

Followed the score, wish i would have seen it. congrats to razzano. Too bad for serena though, when was the last time serena was 5-1 up in the tie breaker and went on to lose the match?

Humble Rafa Says:

I keep wondering what would have happened had Serena been the one assessed the point penalties for hindrance instead of Razzano.

Big Lady would have shoved the tennis ball down somebody’s throat. LOL.

And be fined $250 for “acts”.

Kimmi Says:

I think this is a very good interview from serena. OK, she is talking more about her game than razzano’s but she is showing a lot of maturity. not the spoiled brat like we are used to see.

jane Says:

Yeah, she says “that’s life” a lot. :) That was a dramatic loss Kimmi. You should watch for the replay or highlights if you missed it.

Kimmi Says:

I forgot to set my PVR when i left this morning. That is unfortunate. I will look for something from youtube maybe.

Anna Says:

Everyone in the family had someplace else to be during the last game of this match, the airport, work, school, but we just couldn’t leave. Very happy for Razzano, but sad for Serena. I found it odd that she actually began to cry after the 2nd set, which led my son to say he thinks she’s hurt. He didn’t know she had withdrawn from Rome for that reason. I guess maybe the green and blue clay does not transition that well to red clay.

jane Says:

Kimmi, last night they replayed the matches later on TSN I think it was. That’s how I caught a bit of Fed’s replay. So watch for Serena replay.

the mind reels Says:

@Kimmi: I suppose it’s a more mature interview than maybe what we’re used to seeing, but it still sounds a bit smug to me. That said, I didn’t see the interview — just read it — but when asked about Razzano’s fiance’s death and how Virginie is dealing with it, Serena likens that situation to her almost dying (not the same thing), Venus struggling (…not the same), and Mardy Fish’s recent health issues. It’s one thing to have injuries (which Razzano has had herself too), but it’s another thing completely to lose a loved one like that.

Is that the full presser above? Would have been nice for her to acknowledge Razzano’s good play (as you hint at).

Anyway, onto round two!

the mind reels Says:

For folks in the United States, Tennis Channel just started to replay the match about 15 minutes ago, so you can catch it now.

Kimmi Says:

ah you are right jane. they are replaying now. thanks.

Lisa Says:

The most intresting 2nd round match to watch would be….

Gillies Simon(FRA) vs Brian Baker(USA)

Kimmi Says:

The mind reels – i agree that bit about razanno’s husband was not pleasant.
regarding the other parts, I thought she didn’t make it like it was all up to her (she normally does this when she loses). Its true that she lost her way in the match at one point. She kept saying things like this happens and that is life.

Anyways, this interview sounded more mature to me than most of her other interviews when she loses.

skeezer Says:

Lisa @ 7:34

Yeah that will be interesting….!

Lisa Says:

For Serena, well it’s the biggest upset so far in the tournament…..but a heart ranching win for Razanno….Congretulations to her…..

Lisa Says:


Can’t wait….very intriguing

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Serena doesn’t whine. She could have been pleasanter in some respects, but you have to respect that Serena whines or makes excuses much less than most other men or women.

dc Says:

@Tennis Vagabond – that’s true.Some of the top male players cried when they couldn’t play on blue clay.Serena didn’t complain.

metan Says:

Bye Ms.weenie, see you @ wimbledon

Lizzie Says:

I was wondering of the presser for Virginie might be posted on this site as well. The excerpts were helpful, but the q & a really gives clarity. Thanks! RG posted parts of the video of Serena’s presser, but none (to my knowledge) of Virginie’s.

Michael Says:

Instead of Razzano winning, Serana gave the match to her on a platter with her numerous mistakes. She is not the same player after recuperating from her serious illness. This must be a rude shock to her especially losing to an unknown veteran in the Ist round. This will hurt her for a long time to come.

nadalista Says:


No Serena did not complain………she just cried in between sets.

I WANT MY BLUE CLAY, you weenies!!!

King Federer Says:

Serena is atleast her own person. she doesn’t still wait for her uncle’s permission to poop/eat like nadline does.

nadalista Says:

@King Fedeer;

We take your word for it, you would know since you are there when nadline poops/eats………


King Federer Says:

and also when nadline gets abused by her uncle!

Top story: Djokovic, Thiem Open With Vienna Wins; Wawrinka Ousted