Yesterday morning, Serena Williams played Karolina Pliskova in the Semifinals of the US Open, and to the shock of everyone, Serena lost. Serena was having a fantastic year, but a bit of a heartbreaking summer. After winning Wimbledon, one of the other four major tennis tournaments, Serena was upset in the early rounds of the Olympics in Rio this summer, and now, Serena has been upset before reaching the finals of the US Open.
Serena Williams played her hardest, but Karolina played fantastically too.
Karolina has a killer serve that overwhelmed Serena in the first set to win 6-2. In the second set, Serena stayed in the match to bring it to a tie breaker, but she double faulted on Karolina’s match point to lose the match 7-6.
During her interview after the game, the press wanted to make Serena’s loss all about the fact that she had played two days in a row.
The day before, Serena had played a match against Simona Halep, and, though Serena won, it was 3 set match, which the press described as very tough. Usually, players get a day off between matches, but the US Open schedule had Serena playing the next day, and reporters kept trying to blame Serena’s loss on fatigue from that match.
But because Serena is super classy and unapologetic, she would not buy into the reporters trying to make her say that she lost because she was tired from the day before. At least three reporters during her post-match interview tried to get Serena to blame her loss on tiredness, and we love Serena’s sassy response.
She said, “Okay, I’m not going to repeat myself. I wasn’t tired from yesterday’s match. I’m a professional player, I’ve been playing for over twenty years. If I can’t turn around after 24 hours and play again, then I shouldn’t be on the tour.”
It would have been so easy for Serena to use something out of her control like match scheduling to explain her loss, but she wouldn’t. She wouldn’t do anything but take responsibility for her loss, and that is why we love her. She did mention that she definitely had some kind of knee issue during the match that was slowing her down, but she even tries to downplay that.
Serena told reporters that the loss was a case of her not playing well and Karolina playing great, which is totally the response of a champion.
Serena complimented Karolina’s play, and she also admited that her knee injury wasn’t so much about the pain, but about the mental affect it had on her game. She said, “I wasn’t able to move as well as I would have liked. And when you’re injured, you’re thinking of other things, when you should just be playing and thinking about your shots. My mind was just a little bit everywhere, but it was what it was.”
We love that she can take a loss in stride, even when the reporters wanted to make it more dramatic.
One reporter asked if Serena’s serve “abandoned” her. Serena said, “Uh, I guess. This is really negative. I don’t think it abandoned me, I just don’t think I served well. I definitely think I could have served better, but that’s the beauty of this sport, there’s always opportunities to do better.”