Serena Williams has lost four Grand Slam finals since returning to the Tour in 2018
Serena Williams left her Australian Open press conference in tears following her semi-final loss to Naomi Osaka.
The great American saw her final bid for a record-breaking 24th Grand Slam title, finished by Japan’s three-time major champion Osaka, who won 6-3 6-4.
She said goodbye to the crowd in the Rod Laver Arena with her hand over her heart and led to questions about the 39-year-old’s future.
She replied, “I don’t know. If I ever said goodbye, I wouldn’t tell anyone.”
Williams got tearful when he asked another question about their casual mistakes against Osaka.
“I don’t know. I’m done,” she said before leaving the room.
Williams thanked her fans in a post on Instagram shortly after the game.
“Today was not an ideal result or performance but it is happening. It’s a great honor to play in front of all of you,” she wrote.
“Your support, your cheers, I just wish I could have done better for you today.
“I am forever in debt and grateful to each and every one of you.”
“Wimbledon is Williams’ best chance”
Williams is committed to hitting Margaret Court’s record since returning from maternity leave in 2018.
Their 23 Grand Slam titles are the most popular of any player in the Open Era. 13 of court titles came before the tour became fully professional.
Since returning, Williams has reached four Grand Slam finals but lost all of them, including against Osaka at the 2018 US Open.
Former British number one Annabel Croft says Wimbledon, where Williams has won eight titles, is her best chance at breaking the court record.
“Serena seemed in a happy place and I thought it was – this is the time she’ll win her 24th,” Croft told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“Time is not on their side, however. You have to wonder why she plays well, considering that there is such a big age gap against some of her opponents.
“Strangely enough, the draw should open up for them [to win] but it is not beyond the possibilities. “
It is the first time in 18 years that Williams has lost an Australian Open semi-final.
It is also her first loss to a top five opponent in a grand slam on hard court since she was beaten by Jelena Jankovic at the Australian Open in 2008.
Osaka, who has spoken often of her admiration for Williams, said she “said” the American retirement speech.
“I want her to play forever,” said Osaka. “That’s the little kid in me.”
“Every time I play them I feel like I will definitely remember a lot.”