Serena Williams left interview in tears after Australian Open defeat

Melbourne, Australia - Tennis legend Serena Williams was knocked out of the Australian Open in the semi-finals, cutting short her dream of breaking the standing record for Grand Slam titles. The post-match press conference was unusually emotional – and came to an abrupt and tearful end.

An emotional Serena Williams talks to reporters at an Australian Open press conference.
An emotional Serena Williams talks to reporters at an Australian Open press conference.  © Twitter/Screenshot/@vinayakkm

The 39-year-old held out in front of journalists for just under three and a half minutes before ending the press conference in tears.

"I made so many errors today," she repeated after being asked whether this showing had simply been "a bad day at the office."

It was not a typical match characteristic of the great tennis icon, who lost to Japan's Naomi Osaka 3:6 and 4:6 after only 75 minutes of play. The American was eliminated in the semi-final round.

Angel Reese gives off Y2K vibes in her latest viral game day fit check
Angel Reese Angel Reese gives off Y2K vibes in her latest viral game day fit check

In Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena, which was only half-full due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 23-year-old Japanese player executed a near-perfect match, leaving virtually no doubt as to who would be advancing to the final.

"It’s always an honor to play [Williams]. Just to be on the court playing against her, for me, is a dream...I want to play her forever. That's the little kid in me," Osaka said after the match.

Serena Williams falls short of breaking an all-time record

Serena Williams is one of the most celebrated tennis stars in history.
Serena Williams is one of the most celebrated tennis stars in history.  © Instagram/Screenshot/@serenawilliams

"I made too many mistakes...easy, easy mistakes," recounted Williams after the possibility of winning her 24th Grand Slam title slipped away.

This year she hoped to break the previous record set by Australian Margaret Court (now aged 78) of 24 singles titles.

Williams' last Australian Open victory was in 2017 when she won the tournament while pregnant. She became a mother later that year.

Has Taylor Swift's new Eras Tour opener sparked bad blood with Olivia Rodrigo?
Taylor Swift Has Taylor Swift's new Eras Tour opener sparked bad blood with Olivia Rodrigo?

In 2003, Serena won the Australian Grand Slam for the first time, defeating her sister Venus 7-6, 3-6, and 6-4. She's gone on to win the title six more times.

Since the birth of her daughter, the 39-year-old seems to have had less luck dominating in the finals. In 2018, she lost to Angelique Kerber (33) at Wimbledon and to Naomi Osaka in the US Open. In 2019, she lost both finals again, this time to Simona Halep (29) and Bianca Andreescu (20).

William's emotional response has fans speculating

Could Williams soon be only a spectator of the sport that made her famous?
Could Williams soon be only a spectator of the sport that made her famous?  © Instagram/Screenshot/@serenawilliams

Williams' abrupt walk-out from the press conference had many wondering if her retirement from tennis is on the horizon. Questions about the Covid-19 pandemic and the meaning of her moving gesture toward the crowd after the match seemed to push her over the edge.

"If I ever say farewell, I wouldn't tell anyone," she joked, but clearly the questioning left her emotional.

In response to the next question, she said simply, "I'm done," before walking away in tears.

Fans continue to speculate whether she means she is departing from the sport for good.

Cover photo: Twitter/Screenshot/@vinayakkm

More on Serena Williams: