Serena Williams shouldered the large white shoulder bag with her own logo on the side and waved her right hand once more at the cheering fans. A farewell to Center Court at Wimbledon forever? Whether the exceptional tennis player will return to the classic lawn as an active player after the dramatic defeat on her comeback was left open on Tuesday evening.
“I can’t answer that,” she said less than an hour before midnight when asked if it was her last game. Almost verbatim to a statement before the start of the tournament, the 40-year-old added: “Who knows where I will appear next.”
The fact that after a year’s injury break she continued her career in the hunt for the 24th Grand Slam title was already a small sensation. And the dramatic 5:7, 6:1, 6:7 (7:10) in the first round against the French outsider Harmony Tan does not give hope for a return to old strength.
Williams fought for more than 3:10 hours, but was very limited in terms of running and play, far from the previous class. So unnerved the world number 115. Tan her opponent on the defensive, among other things, with the undercut forehand. “Any other opponent would have suited my game better,” Williams complained.
However, the American indicated that she would like to appear at the upcoming US Open, which begins on August 29th. “When you’re at home, especially in New York, and at the US Open, the place where I won my first Grand Slam, it’s always super special,” Williams said. “It’s definitely a lot of motivation to get better and play at home.”
This drive was also evident in the seven-time Wimbledon winner during the game. She celebrated a successful stop on her knees and cried out loudly after winning points. When she fended off Tan’s first match point at a score of 5:6 in the third set and served on her own, the spectators’ relief erupted in explosive cheers. But even a 4-0 lead in the decisive tie-break was not enough for Williams to win.
Due to the defeat, she has to wait for the longed-for 24th success in a Grand Slam tournament, with which she would set the record of Australian Margaret Court. The defeat made her want to get back on the training ground, Williams said, “because I didn’t play badly and was so close.”