Serena Williams is considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time—the greatest player, even—but that doesn't mean she's completely invincible on the court. Her latest defeat was at the 2019 U.S. Open, where she lost the final match to 19-year-old Canadian player Bianca Andreescu. And in a press conference following the match, Williams shared an incredibly vulnerable explanation for her surprising loss.
Williams was blunt: The outcome of the match was largely the fault of her own play. "I think this was the worst match I've played all tournament," she said about her performance. "It’s inexcusable to play at that level."
"I believe I could have played better," she continued. "I believe I could have done more. I believe I could have just been more Serena today."
Williams's loss marks the fourth major defeat she's faced since returning from giving birth to her daughter, Olympia, in 2017. Those losses are at odds with the G.O.A.T. title she's been given, she said in her press conference. "I honestly don't think Serena showed up. I have to kind of figure out how to get her to show up in grand slam finals."
Williams also displayed excellent sportsmanship when asked about her competitor. Andreescu was born the year after Williams won her first title at the U.S. Open, and Williams complimented her young opponent's skill on the court. "I think Bianca obviously played well. I think her returns make me play better and puts pressure on my serve," she said.
Holding herself accountable so soon after her loss struck a chord with onlookers. On Twitter, sports insiders praised Williams for speaking so openly about her performance and citing her as an example of showing strength through vulnerability.
Fellow athletes and fans also shared their support for Williams. "She’s a credit to this sport and we are lucky to still have her fighting for it,"Grand Slam champion Rennae Stubbs said.
Serena Williams's career has included a number of remarkable wins, as well as her share of losses. She took it all in stride during her press conference. "I'm just so proud that I'm out here and competing at this level. My team has been so supportive through all the ups and downs and downs and downs and downs," she said. "Hopefully, we'll have some ups soon."
With yesterday's loss at the U.S. Open, Serena Williams is a little further from winning her 24th Grand Slam title than fans would hope. But that doesn't take away from the 23 Grand Slams she won to reach the place she's at now. Serena is the G.O.A.T. for a reason—she'll be back dominating the court soon enough.
Originally Appeared on Glamour