Serena Williams Just Walked Out of a Press Conference After This Question
After losing at the Australian Open, the tennis star ended her press conference abruptly.
After being defeated by 23-year-old Naomi Osaka in the semi-final of the Australian Open on Feb. 18, Serena Williams fielded questions from the press until one seemingly made her so emotional, she ended the press conference early. While it's unclear whether she was upset because of the questions, because of the outcome of the match, or because of something else entirely, it was undoubtedly an intense experience for Williams. Now, her time at the Australian Open combined with the press conference have the sports world and Serena Williams' fans questioning if retirement is in the near future for this legend. Read on to find out what Williams had to say after the match and what set her off. And for more on the superstar athlete, check out Serena Williams Explains Why She Didn't Want Her Daughter to Play Tennis.
After the match, she had a touching moment with fans on the court.
Following the match with Osaka, Williams received a standing ovation from the crowd. In response, she took a moment to take it all in, waving to fans and holding her hand to her heart. As reported by BuzzFeed News, this was somewhat out of character for the 39-year-old tennis great. For that reason, it led to questioning at the press conference that followed about whether it was her farewell to the sport.
She said she "wouldn't tell" people if she was saying goodbye.
During the press conference, one reporter asked about the "poignant moment" when she walked off the court and held her hand to her heart. "What was going through your head in that moment?" the reporter asked. "I don't know. The Aussie crowd is so amazing, so it was nice to see," Williams responded. When the reporter asked if it was a "farewell," Williams laughed and said, "I don't know. If I ever say farewell, I wouldn't tell anyone, so…"
She teared up and left the press conference.
After it was announced that there was only time for a couple more questions, a reporter asked Williams about the unforced errors during the match with Osaka and questioned if it was "just one of those bad days at the office." Before the reporter even began talking, it looked like Williams was starting to fight back tears. She responded, "I don't know," and added, "I'm done," as she teared up and left the stage.
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Williams later shared a message to her Australian fans on Instagram.
After her time in the Australian Open, Williams posted a photo of herself on Instagram along with a note of gratitude for her Australian fans. "Melbourne and my Australian fans – Today was not an ideal outcome or performance but it happens…" she wrote. "I am so honored to be able to play in front of you all. Your support – your cheers, I only wish I could have done better for you today. I am forever in debt and grateful to each and every single one of you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I adore you."
For more on Williams, Here's a Rare Photo of Serena Williams' Adorable Family of Three.
Williams has spoken about retiring in the past—and said she's not interested.
In 2019, Williams joked that she'll retire from tennis two decades from now. As reported by People, during an appearance on a panel at Advertising Week New York, Williams was asked about retirement and said, she'll "transfer out, you know, in 20 years, not anytime soon."
More recently, she talked about how she'll never be satisfied with her achievements until she retires. The tennis legend has won 23 Grand Slam titles—the most by any player in the Open Era, which began in 1968. If she wins 24, she'll tie Margaret Court for the most ever. "I've been definitely proudly stuck here," Williams told reporters (via Forbes) in August 2020 of not getting past that 23rd title. "So I'm pretty happy about it, but obviously I'm never satisfied. That's been the story of my career, so it is what it is."
"I'll never be satisfied until I retire," she continued. "I'm never going to stop until I retire. That's just my personality, that's how I got to be here."
For more on Williams' personal life, read Serena Williams' Husband Defends Her Against Body Shaming Comment.