Image courtesy of DNAindia.com
By Jacqueline Jedrych
Serena Williams lost the US Open to Belarusian Victoria Azarenka with a 1-6 6-3 6-3 defeat in the U.S. Open semi-finals on Thursday, ending her chance at her 24th Grand Slam title. After the match, she announced her intent to participate in the French Open, insisting “I’m definitely going to be going to Paris,” despite her limited chances to practice in competitive matches on a clay court before the 27th start date.
Williams struggled in the US Open match even before she suffered an injury, grabbing her left ankle behind the baseline after a third-set point. She asked for a trainer, who called for a medical time out for a tape job. After the match, Williams confirmed it was her left Achilles, but doesn’t attribute her loss to the injury.
“I don’t think that had anything to do with it,” Williams said. “Ultimately, it didn’t affect my play at all… I made a lot more errors. I didn’t win a lot on my second serves. I served well, but I didn’t dominate the way I needed to in that.”
In spite of the fact that Williams claims her loss was not due to her injury, she pulled out of the Italian Open in Rome that kicked off this Monday, September 14, due to her Achilles injury. She insists that it won’t affect future performance.
“I just was stretching,” Williams said after the match. “I ran for a shot, and off that first step that I took, it was a long point. It wasn’t my ankle, it was actually my Achilles. It just overstretched. It was pretty intense. Then that was that.”
With just two weeks until she competes in Roland Garros, time is running out for Williams to achieve her goal of matching Australian tennis player Margaret Court’s Grand Slam record of 24. She has failed to earn a title since her 23rd at the Australian Open in January of 2017. Williams has lost 3 Grand Slam titles since she returned to the competition circuit after the birth of her daughter, Alexis. Time is of the essence for Williams, who will turn 39 a day before the matches in Paris begin, where she will compete on her least rewarding surface.
When questioned about how losses this deep into tournaments affect her stamina and morale, Williams said, “I don’t know. I just … I don’t know. I haven’t thought about that actually.”
Williams is slated to begin competing in Paris on Sunday, September 27.