Serena Williams went through the motions after suffering a defeat in the semi-finals of the Australian Open. World Number three ranked Naomi Osaka handed her a 6-3, 6-4 loss at the Rod Laver Arena.
It was emotional for Serena, as she had set out to equal Margaret Court's twenty-four Grand Slam singles titles coming into the competition. It now marks 18 months since she has reached the final of any tournament.
The 39-year-old bid an emotional goodbye to the fans in attendance, waving to the audience with her hand on her heart. Osaka will go on to face American Jennifer Brady in the final on Saturday morning Irish time.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 18, 2021
There was a sombre mood in the post-match press conference.
The difference today was errors. I made so many errors today. Honestly, there were opportunities were I could have been up 5 love but I just made so many errors.
Williams went on to add she felt she was "hitting well this whole tournament." Answering a question about the effects of the pandemic on the players, she responded, "I haven't really thought about that so much."
There will be natural speculation towards her future after this tournament, and especially with how the press conference ended. A reporter asked about the great reception she received leaving the court.
"The Aussie crowd is so amazing. It was nice to see."
Serena was then asked if the goodbye gestures to the fans in the Rod Laver Arena was her way of saying farewell.
"I don't know, if I ever say farewell, I wouldn't tell anyone."
After another question, Williams took a deep breath and uttered, clearly upset, "I don't know.. I'm done."
Williams sought her 24th Grand Slam title in Melbourne Park, but ultimately bowed out of the tournament after hitting her 24th unforced error in the semi-final against Osaka.
— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) February 18, 2021