One of the best athletes of all time may have lost the 2021 Australian Open semifinal but she assured critics she is not throwing in the towel. In an interview with People,her coach reveals she has more to do.
Serena Williams serves to Daria Gavrilova, of Australia, in the first round at the Western & Southern Open, Monday, Aug. 13, 2018, in Mason, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
“I don’t think she planned [retirement] for this certain moment. She’s dedicated all her life to tennis since she was a kid,” says Patrick Mouratoglou. “So the day she will retire, she will feel like she’s giving an end to 40 years of a life.”
He adds, “I don’t think she will stop until she at least wins a Grand Slam, because she came back to win Grand Slams. She doesn’t quit.”
The 23-time Grand Slam winner took a break after giving birth to her daughter in 2017.
The tennis player received a standing ovation as she was leaving the court at the end of last week’s game. She waved and touched her heart, sparking rumors that she was calling it quits.
After the game, she went to a press conference but left early and teary eyed.
“I have to believe it and she has to believe it, too. If she [doesn’t], she would stop. After all she’s achieved in her career, at her age, having a baby for the first time, having a family — it was an incredible effort to come back to tennis,” says the coach. “Unbelievable effort. Mental effort, physical effort, so many hours to get back in shape. She would never even start that if she didn’t think she was able to win a Grand Slam.”
He adds, “That’s how Serena is really exceptional. She puts the standards so high for herself, and she finds a way to match those standards, whatever she does.”
As reported by theGrio, Williams lost to Naomi Osaka. Despite pressure from the 23-time Grand Slam winner, Osaka held Williams off to win 6-3, 6-4. Osaka ultimately won her fourth Grand Slam title.
“I was really nervous and scared in the beginning,” Osaka said after her match with Williams, “and then I sort of eased my way into it.”
During the press conference, Osaka hinted at how it felt to be playing her hero.
“I was a little kid watching her play, and just to be on the court playing against her, for me is a dream.”✨ @naomiosaka | #AusOpen | #AO2021 pic.twitter.com/66Na9CZ3Db— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 18, 2021
“I don’t know if there’s any little kids out here today, but I was a little kid watching her play,” Osaka, 23, said about Williams, 39, “and just to be on the court playing against her, for me, is a dream.”
Williams has been fighting to tie or exceed Margaret Court, who currently holds the record for the most Grand Slam titles in history. Court’s number is 24, just one less than Williams.