‘My performance was inexcusable’
New York: A disappointed Serena Williams said she lost the US Open, her fourth Major final since returning from a difficult pregnancy, as much as her teenaged opponent Bianca Andreescu had won it.
“I felt like I could’ve done so many things a little bit better. But she played really well and deserves this championship,” Williams said.
The 23-time major winner, one short of Aussie Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles, said she wasn’t necessarily chasing records. “I’m just trying to win Grand Slams,” she said.
The 37-year-old, mother of a two-year-old, shouldered arms to a question on the impact of four successive Grand Slam final losses.
She said” “I’m not happy, but I have to take it one moment at a time. I honestly didn’t play my best today. I could have played better. That’s the only solace that I can take right now.”
Williams, who had eight double faults and 33 unforced errors in the final, said: “This was the worst match I’ve played all tournament. It’s hard to know that you could do better.”
Williams, clearly struggling to digest the loss, asked herself questions. “Okay, Serena, you lost serve maybe twice in the whole tournament, and you didn’t hit a first serve in today...,” she argued with the sixtime US Open champion. “How do I play at a level like this in a final? Bianca obviously played well. Her returns make me play better and puts pressure on my serve. At the same time, it’s inexcusable for me to play at that level.”
“It’s hard right now to take this and say, ‘It didn’t work out for you today, but you did okay, because I don’t believe I did. I believe I could have played better. I believe I could have done more. I believe I could have just been more Serena.”
“I honestly don’t think Serena showed up. I have to kind of figure out how to get her to show up in Grand Slam finals,” she said, saying all four of her Major losses, two at Wimbledon and two here at the US Open in the last 14 months, were huge disappointments. “All of it is super frustrating. I’m so close, so close, so close, yet so far away.”
Williams said she would need to keep at it. “I guess I got to keep going if I want to be a professional tennis player. I got to keep fighting through it.”