Will Serena Williams play at the US Open after being eliminated in the first round at Wimbledon?
Serena Williams played her first singles game in a year but could not get past Harmony Tan in a superb three-set encounter.
Serena Williams’ hopes of a winning a record-equalling 24th grand slam title at Wimbledon are over after she was beaten by the unheralded Harmony Tan in an epic first-round match.
Williams went down 7-5 1-6 7-6 (10-7) on Centre Court in her first singles match since being forced to withdraw in the opening round of last year’s tournament at the All England Club, when she suffered a hamstring injury during a contest with Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
The seven-time Wimbledon champion’s much-heralded comeback proved to be an almighty battle and it was the SW19 debutant from France who came out on top late on Tuesday evening.
It took outsider Tan three hours and 11 minutes to claim a huge scalp, winning what could prove to be the great Williams’ final singles match at Wimbledon.
Tan broke three times in a back-and-forth first set, with Williams unable to keep her at bay during the seventh game despite the world number 115 seeing three break points come and go before winning the fourth.
A disappointed Williams faced the media post game and was anxious not to commit to future plans.
“That’s a question I can’t answer,” the 40-year-old said when asked if she would return to Wimbledon. “Like, I don’t know. I feel like, you know, I don’t know. Who knows? Who knows where I’ll pop up.
“Today I gave all I could do ... Maybe tomorrow I could have gave more. Maybe a week ago I could have gave more. But today was what I could do. At some point you have to be able to be okay with that.
“And that’s all I can do. I can’t change time or anything, so ...”
It is always going to be tough for Williams to walk away from the sport she has dominated. And despite falling short on her return to singles action here, she seems motivated to keep going, keeping the door open for an emotional return to New York for the U.S. Open in August.
“It definitely makes me want to hit the practice courts because, you know, when you’re playing not bad and you’re so close,” she said, seeking something positive from a bad day.
“Like I said, any other opponent probably would have suited my game better. So, yeah, I feel like that it’s actually kind of like, Okay, Serena, you can do this if you want.
“Yeah, I mean, when you’re at home, especially in New York, and the U.S. Open, that being the first place I’ve won a Grand Slam, is something that’s always super special. Your first time is always special. There’s definitely, you know, lots of motivation to get better and to play at home.”