Serena Williams Compares Upset Loss to 'Dating a Guy That You Know Sucks'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 26, 2020

Serena Williams leaves the court after loosing her match to Maria Sakkari, of Greece, during the third round at the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Serena Williams took full responsibility for her upset loss to Maria Sakkari on Tuesday night in the Western & Southern Open, the final warm-up tournament before the 2020 U.S. Open.

"I don't think that helps mentally, when you know the match is over and you won the match, and now your legs were already tired, and now they're even more tired," Williams told reporters. "I put myself in a bad situation. It's like dating a guy that you know sucks."

The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion hasn't won a major title since the 2017 Australian Open, losing an astonishing four times in championship matches since that triumph.

She won the first set 7-5 over Sakkari on Tuesday but lost the second set in a tiebreaker and got blown out in the third set. Her record dropped to 3-2 since the WTA Tour restarted after an extended hiatus since March because of the coronavirus pandemic, and all five matches went the distance.

"It's hard to play the way I've been playing and to stay positive. And to play nine hours in a week is too much. I don't usually play like that,'' Williams said. "I literally should have won that match. There was no excuse. It was tough, but I had so many opportunities to win. I have to figure that one out—how to start winning those matches again."

The typically dominant 38-year-old has been anything but since the resumption of play, which has tempered expectations about how far she can advance in the U.S. Open.

Meanwhile, Sakkari didn't shy away from the importance of beating one of the best tennis players in history.

"I haven't realized it yet," Sakkari said. "It feels pretty good, because she has been a role model for me growing up, and obviously what she has achieved is huge. So it feels very nice."

Williams will find out her first-round opponent for the U.S. Open when the draw is released Thursday, and the season's second major will kick off Monday.