‘Not Really Close to Osaka’: Seven-Time Grand Slam Champion Reacts to Serena Williams Exiting Australian Open 2021

Published 02/19/2021, 8:30 AM EST
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 18, 2021 Serena Williams of the U.S. during her semi final match against Japan’s Naomi Osaka REUTERS/Loren Elliott


Serena Williams crashed out of the Australian Open 2021 with a loss against Naomi Osaka in the semi-finals. It was an agonizing defeat for the 39-year-old who bid an emotional farewell to the fans when exiting the Rod Laver Arena. But what did it mean? 

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Williams did not enjoy her post-match press conference due to triggering questions that exposed her emotions. The 23-time Grand Slam champion was visibly distraught with the loss, and the media began posing questions about retirement, which made Williams tear up in front of the cameras

“I think we see those tears because I think she was disappointed in the way she played,” seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander said

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Serena Williams began her 40th Grand Slam semi-final by breaking Osaka’s service game and went 2-0. But the veteran failed to hold on to her momentum, and Wilander believes that’s where Williams lost the entire match.

“I think she had really high hopes, she had a really good start. If she got to 3-0, it could have been 4-0, then 5-0,” he said. 

Emotions overpowered Serena Williams after the bitter loss

Serena Williams had every chance of winning the match, despite Osaka dominating on the other end. It is just that she didn’t capitalize on her chances as much as her opponent. Mats Wilander feels Williams was “unlucky” with the defeat. 

The seven-time Australian Open champion utterly dominated proceedings this year and dropped only one set en route to making the semis. She hardly played like a 39-year-old and looked much improved and stronger. 

“For her this is a bigger loss, because she is moving better, she is playing better and she is still not really close to Osaka,” Wilander added. But that’s just how the game is, isn’t it? Serena once dominated the circuit, and she’s now on the receiving end. 

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 18, 2021 Serena Williams of the U.S. during her semi final match against Japan’s Naomi Osaka REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Wilander added, “I feel that’s where the emotions start – she’s probably thinking, what do I need to do now?”

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This quote from Wilander applies to how Serena reacted to her loss against Osaka. She was in disbelief, almost as if something had let her down. People call Williams the GOAT of the women’s game, and it doesn’t seem like she will rest until the 24th Slam is in her bag. 

Williams found herself lost in a world of thoughts after the loss. It wasn’t the most ideal exit from the tournament, but one can be assured that the 39-year-old will be back with a bang in no time! 

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Arjun Athreya

1816 articles

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.

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