Serena Williams, a veteran American, broke down in tears and ended a press conference after losing 6-3, 6-4 by Japanese Naomi Osaka in the Australian Open semi-final on Thursday.
This loss ended the hopes of the American player to equal the record by winning the 24th Grand Slam title.
The 39-year-old, who needed one title to equal Margaret Court’s record, left the stadium that hosted her match against Osaka, to warm applause, pausing for a moment as she placed her hand on her heart to greet the fans.
“The Australian audience is amazing and it was so nice to watch,” Williams, who wore a necklace bearing the word “Queen,” told reporters.
Smiling, she responded to a question about whether her exit means the Australian Open is forever goodbye, “If it’s saying goodbye, I’m not going to tell anyone.”
However, the smile quickly dissipated after a question about considering the defeat of Osaka a “bad result”, and at that time she drank a potion of water before wailing.
“I don’t know. I don’t know,” she said before leaving the press conference in tears.
Williams had won her last Grand Slam title in 2017 at the Australian Open in particular, before she got a break to give birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia, and lost four finals in these tournaments since her return to tennis in 2018.