Serena Williams suffered the worst loss of her storied career at the hands of Johanna Konta at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic on July 31.
As it turns out, the tennis legend was a bit distracted by some news she received as she prepared to take the court. In a profile by Sean Gregory of Time, she revealed she had learned that the man who fatally shot her sister, Yetunde Price, in 2003 had been released on parole.
"I couldn't shake it out of my mind," Williams told Time.
Williams lost to Konta 6-1, 6-0 in a match that took just 53 minutes.
Robert Edward Maxfield killed Price, the half-sister of Serena and Venus, on the night of Sept. 14, 2003, shooting her in the back of the head as she sat in a vehicle with her boyfriend in Compton, California. Maxfield allegedly was seeking revenge on a gang when he shot at the vehicle.
According to the Daily Mail's Ryan Parry, Maxfield was released three years early from his 15-year prison term in July due to good behavior.
That's something that Williams takes issue with, as she explained to Gregory:
"No matter what, my sister is not coming back for good behavior. It’s unfair that she’ll never have an opportunity to hug me. But also…the Bible talks about forgiveness. I’m not there yet. I would like to practice what I preach, and teach Olympia that as well. I want to forgive. I have to get there. I’ll be there."
She added that the death impacted her on another level due to the fact Price had three children, who were 11, nine and five at the time.
"It was hard because all I think about is her kids,” Williams told Time, “and what they meant to me. And how much I love them."
While athletes, especially one as dominant as Williams, can be viewed as superhuman at times, they have to deal with off-the-court issues just like everyone else. It's understandable for Williams to not be on top of her game after receiving tough news just minutes before a match.
Williams touched on a number of other topics in the profile as well, such as her husband, her daughter and her return to tennis.