Serena Williams’ Uncharacteristic Twirl and Wave Recalled by Her Nostalgic Ex-coach as She Draws Rafael Nadal Parallel

Published Jan 3, 2024 | 4:13 AM EST

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When Rafael Nadal gave a farewell at the 2024 Australian Open, many wondered when he would return to the tournament. However, the former coach of Serena Williams, Rene Stubbs believed he would never return to the country. She was reminded of the exit of her former student in 2021, who had an emotional farewell in the land down under and never returned to play the prestigious tournament again. 

However, Stubbs was proven wrong as “El Nino” will be on his way to playing in Melbourne once again. She likened his exit last year to Serena Williams’ exit but is overjoyed by the fact that she was proven wrong.

Serena Williams’ exit led former coach to make brutal Rafael Nadal assessment


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 Stubbs is now a tennis analyst who also has a podcast of her own. In a recent episode of her podcast, she talked about Rafa’s return. When she saw him walk off from the AO last year, she didn’t believe he would return to the tournament again. His wave to the crowd during his exit ticked her off. 

She said it looked similar to how Williams exited the grand slam for the last time in 2021. “It was very much how I felt when Serena walked off the court at the Australian Open when she did her little wave to everyone. Great players don’t wave like that when they leave the court,” she said.


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That’s kind of like goodbye. And Serena, when she lost, she f***ing booked it out of there. Normally, this time, she stopped and did a twirl and waved, and I went, “That’s the last time we’re gonna see her,” and I was right.

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She is happy she was proven wrong this time as Nadal’s injury last year horrified her.


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Stubbs happy about Rafa’s return

Continuing her explanation, Stubbs said she was happy for Nadal’s return despite his injury. “So I’m so happy for the Australian public that they actually get to see Rafa play down there and hopefully be fit because when he left there a couple of years ago, you know, with that groin injury, it was brutal to watch.”

I mean, I was literally courtside watching that just going, “dude, just stop”, and you know he should have probably stopped because it probably exacerbated the injury that he had clearly.”


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Rafa now returns to the Australian tournaments for one last hurrah. After he recovered from his injuries, he won the first match upon his return. He is aiming only for the big prize. How far will he be able to go in the AO? Tell us in the comments section!

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Written by:

Ripunjay Gaba


One take at a time

The Swiss Maestro Roger Federer?s influence on tennis is undeniable, and I certainly have the 20-time Grand Slam champion to thank for my foray into the wonderful racket sport. Unsurprisingly, throughout my time at ES, I have specialized in providing in-depth coverage of everything related to the 'Swiss Maestro' and have authored more than 1000 articles to date. Now, I specifically focus on creating profiles for all the top stars, along with stables that focus on both their professional and personal exploits.
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Edited by:

Arijit Saha