Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said: “I’ve been in constant contact with Serena and her team and know this is why she has pushed it and pushed it until the 11th hour to make her final decision.
“Serena transcends the sport in the way she approaches all aspects of her life. It was never going to be good enough for her to just compete.”
Serena Williams lost an exhibition contest against Jelena Ostapenko in Abu Dhabi on December 30, 2017, in her first match since giving birth in September.
It is the first time since 2011 that Serena Williams has missed the tournament.
On January 4, men’s world No 4 Kei Nishikori withdrew because of a wrist injury.
There are also doubts over the fitness of No 1 Rafael Nadal and Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka, who won the title in 2014.
Novak Djokovic, a six-time Australian Open champion, may also miss out with an elbow injury.
This includes three Grand Slams – the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open.
Image source Getty Images
Serena Williams, who will return to world No 1 next week, would be eligible to retain her ranking under the WTA special ranking rule if she is ready to play her first tournament within 12 months of giving birth.
US Open Tennis responded to Serena Williams’ message by saying: “Serena Williams will have a new pride and joy to hug and call her own soon! Congratulations on the exciting baby announcement!”
Serena Williams has won her seventh Australian Open after beat sister Venus in straight sets.
The 35-year-old American won her 23rd Grand Slam singles title with 6-4 6-4 passing Steffi Graf in the all-time list of major winners since the Grand Slams accepted professional players in 1968.
Serena Williams regains the No 1 ranking from German Angelique Kerber.
Australia’s Margaret Court, with 24, is the only player still ahead of Serena in terms of Grand Slam singles titles.
Image source Getty Images
“Congratulations Serena on number 23,” said Venus Williams, who at 36 is the oldest Australian Open finalist in the Open era.
“I have been right there with you, some of them I lost right there against you. It’s been an awesome win.
“I’m enormously proud of you, you mean the world to me. I, God willing, would love to come back. Thank you for all the love.”
Serena Williams paid tribute to her sister, who was playing her first major final for eight years, saying: “There’s no way I would be at 23 without her. There’s no way I’d be at one without her. She’s my inspiration.
“She’s the only reason I’m standing here today. She’s the only reason the Williams sisters exist. Thank you for inspiring me. Every time you won this week, I felt like I got a win too.”
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has confirmed that a Russian cyber espionage group operator by the name of Tsar Team (APT28), also known as Fancy Bear, illegally gained access to its Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) database via an International Olympic Committee (IOC)-created account for the Rio 2016 Games.
The hacker group leaked confidential medical files of star US Olympic athletes, including tennis players Venus and Serena Williams and teenage gymnast Simone Biles.
Fancy Bears claimed responsibility for the hack of a WADA database.
After the leak, Simone Biles said she had long been taking medicine for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
The hacker group had accused her of taking an “illicit psycho-stimulant”, but Simone Biles said she had “always followed the rules”.
The Rio Olympics quadruple gold medalist had obtained the necessary permission to take prescription medicine on the WADA banned drugs list, USA Gymnastics said in a statement.
In a statement on the agency’s official website, WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said: “WADA deeply regrets this situation and is very conscious of the threat that it represents to athletes whose confidential information has been divulged through this criminal act.”
“We are reaching out to stakeholders, such as the IOC, IFs and NADOs, regarding the specific athletes impacted,” he continued.
WADA said that the cyber attacks were an attempt to undermine the global anti-doping system.
Russian government spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was “out of the question” that the Kremlin or secret services were involved in the hacking, Russian news agencies reported.
The hackers accessed records detailing “Therapeutic Use Exemptions” (TUEs), which allow the use of banned substances due to athletes’ verified medical needs.
“By virtue of the TUE, Biles has not broken any drug-testing regulations, including at the Olympic Games in Rio,” USA Gymnastics said.
Fancy Bears said TUEs amount to “licenses for doping”.
The leaked documents allege that Serena Williams was granted permission to use drugs commonly used to treat muscle injuries, such as anti-inflammatories, while Simone Biles is said to use Ritalin – a treatment for her ADHD.
Former – Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority head Richard Ings said: “Nothing I see here gives me cause for alarm,” adding it looked “totally normal”.
“The issue here is privacy breach.”
Russia’s track and field team were banned from the Rio Olympics over an alleged state-backed doping program. All Russian athletes are barred from the ongoing Paralympics.
“Let it be known that these criminal acts are greatly compromising the effort by the global anti-doping community to re-establish trust in Russia,” Olivier Niggli said.
US Anti-Doping Agency chief Travis Tygart called the hack “cowardly and despicable”.
“In each of the situations, the athlete has done everything right in adhering to the global rules for obtaining permission to use a needed medication,” he said.
The US Olympic Committee has had “zero adverse findings from the Rio Olympic Games that weren’t 100% within the medical guidelines set forth by anti-doping authorities,” spokesman Patrick Sandusky said.
Earlier this month, Olivier Niggli said WADA was experiencing almost daily cyber attacks originating from Russia.
Fancy Bears has pledged to release confidential records from other national Olympic teams.
Serena Williams beat Angelique Kerber to win a seventh Wimbledon and 22nd Grand Slam title.
The world No 1 coped with a gusty wind on Centre Court to win 7-5 6-3 and equal Steffi Graf’s Open era record of major titles.
Angelique Kerber, 28, had beaten Serena Williams in the Australian Open final in January but could not produce another shock.
Serena Williams ends a losing run at Slams stretching back to Wimbledon in 2015.
Fourteen years since she first won Wimbledon, Serena Williams claimed the title for a seventh time after dropping just one set all tournament.
Serena Williams moves alongside German great Steffi Graf in the all-time list of Grand Slam singles champions, and just two behind overall leader Margaret Court, the Australian who won 13 of her 24 major titles before tennis turned professional in 1968.
Angelique Kerber was the outsider but buoyed by her win over Serena Williams in Melbourne, and the swirling wind added another element of uncertainty to the final.
Indian Wells CEO Raymond Moore has resigned after his controversial comments about women’s tennis.
Raymond Moore, 69, said the women’s game “rides on the coat-tails” of the men.
Women’s world No 1 Serena Williams said Raymond Moore’s statement was “offensive and very inaccurate”.
However, Novak Djokovic claimed his tour should fight for more money.
Raymond Moore said female players “should get down on their knees” in thanks to male counterparts such as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Photo NBC News
The South African – a former player – later apologized for his “erroneous” remarks.
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova said Raymond Moore’s comments were “extremely prejudiced”, adding female players may boycott Indian Wells if Moore stayed.
Novak Djokovic, who won the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells on March 20, described Raymond Moore’s remarks as “not politically correct”.
However, he suggested men should get more prize money because more people watch their matches.
There has been equal prize money in all four majors – the Australian Open, US Open, French Open and Wimbledon – since 2007, and combined Masters events such as Indian Wells and Miami pay the same to men and women.
In a statement, Indian Wells tournament owner Larry Ellison said: “Ray let me know he has decided to step down from his roles as CEO and tournament director effective immediately. I fully understand his decision.”
Angelique Kerber stunned world No 1 Serena Williams in three sets to win her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.
The 28-year-old has become the first German since Steffi Graf in 1999 to win a Grand Slam title.
Angelique Kerber, seeded seventh, won a thrilling final 6-4 3-6 6-4 at Melbourne Park.
The 28-year-old is the first German to win a major singles title since Steffi Graf at the 1999 French Open.
Serena Williams, 34, was beaten for just the fifth time in 26 Grand Slam finals, and the American missed the chance to tie Steffi Graf’s open-era record of 22 titles.
Angelique Kerber, who saved a match point in her first-round win over Misaki Doi, will move up to No 2 in the world rankings.
She had won just one of six previous matches against Serena Williams and was making her Grand Slam final debut, but she was the better player over two hours and eight minutes on Rod Laver Arena.
Photo Getty Images
She led Serena Williams in the ace count until the latter stages, limiting her to just seven overall, while the American racked up 46 errors to just 13 by Kerber.
Serena Williams made 23 mistakes in the first set alone – sparking memories of her desperately nervous display in losing to Roberta Vinci at the US Open in September 2015 – and Angelique Kerber took full advantage to claim it after 39 minutes.
However, the defending champion cut her error count to just five in the second set and claimed it thanks to a single break in game four.
Angelique Kerber twice moved ahead in the decider and a stunning sixth game saw the German produce two fine drop shots and win a breathtaking 19-stroke rally to cling on to her serve and edge closer to victory.
Nerves took hold and she was broken while serving for the match, but she launched into the Williams serve once again and clinched the title when the world number one sent a volley long.
Angelique Kerber said afterwards that being able to say she was a Grand Slam champion “sounds crazy”.
“It’s my dream come. I worked for this my whole life,” said the German.
“It’s been such an up and down two weeks, I was match point down in the first round and had one foot in the plane to Germany.
“Now I have beaten Serena and won the championship. I have so many emotions, so many thoughts, but all of them good ones.”
Serena Williams was gracious in defeat, telling Angelique Kerber: “Angie, congratulations. You deserve this and I’m so happy for you. I really hope you enjoy this moment.”
Serena Williams has chased down a man who grabbed her mobile phone while she was in a restaurant.
“Soooooo yesterday at dinner the craziest thing happened to me,” Serena Williams posted on her Facebook page, accompanied by a picture of herself as Superwoman.
Serena Williams, who is taking the rest of the year off to recover from injuries, claimed the man “grabbed her phone and swiftly left”.
The world No 1 tennis player said: “Not thinking I reacted (hence the superwoman photo), I jumped up, weaved my way in and out of the cosy restaurant (leaping over a chair or two) and chased him down.”
Serena Williams said she was “too fast” for the man and was “upon him in a flash”.
She added: “In the most menacing, yet calm, no-nonsense voice I could muster, I kindly asked him if he <<accidentally>> took the wrong phone.
“He stumbled on his words, probably not expecting this to happen. Eventually he said: <<Gosh, you know what, I did! It was so confusing in there. I must have grabbed the wrong phone>>.”
Serena Williams, who won every Grand Slam singles title except the US Open this year, said she received a “standing ovation” from her fellow diners at the restaurant.
Serena Williams described the moment as a “win for the ladies” and said she showed “every man in there I can stand up to bullies”.
World number one Serena Williams beat Maria Sharapova to win her sixth Australian Open and 19th Grand Slam title.
Serena Williams, 33, served to win a pulsating final 6-3 7-6 (7-5) after Maria Sharapova fought back in the second set.
The American moves past Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert with a 19th major singles title.
Serena Williams has now beaten Maria Sharapova, the world number two, 16 times in a row dating back to 2004.
“I have to congratulate Maria, she played a wonderful match and she really pushed me,” said Serena Williams.
“She played so well and gave me a great final not only for the fans, but for women’s tennis. I’m really honored to play her in the final.”
Despite feeling so unwell during a rain delay in the first set that she left the court to vomit, Serena Williams hit 18 aces and 38 winners as she won in one hour and 51 minutes.
Seemingly unsure for a moment that an ace had sealed victory, she then shook hands with Maria Sharapova and bounded over to the corner of Rod Laver Arena towards her player box.
It was a brilliant performance in a final that exceeded many expectations, bearing in mind the players’ head-to-head record.
Maria Sharapova made a nervous start, double-faulting to drop serve in game one, while Serena Williams appeared keener than ever to shorten the points, possibly because of her ailment.
The American crushed the Russian’s second serve and was not disrupted by a 12-minute rain break that led to the roof being closed.
Still feeling the effects of a heavy cold that has dogged her over the last week, Serena Williams headed off court – in contrast to Maria Sharapova – but the top seed returned at the potentially dangerous score of 3-2, 30-30, to calmly produce an ace and a forehand winner.
Breaks of serve were swapped before Serena Williams took the set in 47 minutes with a backhand and a scream.
Maria Sharapova was looking at another one-sided defeat when facing break points early in the second, but showed why she is a five-time Grand Slam champion.
She served her way out of trouble and managed to cling on in a set in which Serena Williams hit 15 aces and won almost 90% of first-serve points.
Romanian Simona Halep beat Serena Williams for the first time as the world No 1 was swept aside in the WTA Finals in Singapore on October 22.
Simona Halep, 23, took advantage of an error-strewn display from the defending champion to make it two wins out of two in the Red Group, coasting to a 6-0 6-2 victory in just 65 minutes.
An out-of-sorts Serena Williams, 33, was made to pay for 36 unforced errors and seven double faults as Simona Halep beat a player ranked in the top three in the world for the first time at the ninth attempt.
Eighteen-time grand-slam winner Serena Williams allowed her frustration to get the better of her as the ruthless Simona Halep took a giant stride towards the semi-finals in her first appearance in the season-ending event.
Simona Halep wrapped up the first set in just 20 minutes, with Serena Williams suffering the embarrassment of losing 6-0 in a set for the first time this year and only the eighth time in her remarkable career.
Simona Halep beat Serena Williams for the first time as the world No 1 was swept aside in the WTA Finals in Singapore
Serena Williams struggled on serve throughout and French Open finalist Simona Halep made her pay, taking three of the four break points that she fashioned and not giving her opponent an opportunity to break back.
Six of Serena Williams’ double faults came in the opening set and that set the tone for a one-sided match, as she was unable to turn the tide.
Simona Halep broke yet again in the first game of the second set and fended off two break points to go 2-0 up.
It took the favorite 37 minutes to get on the board by making it 2-1, but even that proved to be a false dawn as Simona Halep had a spring in her step and broke again to lead 4-1.
Serena Williams was unable to take a break point that might have given her a glimmer of hope in the following game and Simona Halep sealed a memorable victory by converting her third match point to leave the defending champion stunned.
Serena Williams has won her first Cincinnati title beating Ana Ivanovic in Western & Southern final on August 17.
Serena Williams, 32, needed only 62 minutes to beat Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-1 on Sunday in the Western & Southern Open for a personal breakthrough.
She’d never even reached the finals in Cincinnati until last year, when she fell apart and lost to Victoria Azarenka on a third-set tiebreaker.
Serena Williams has won her first Cincinnati title beating Ana Ivanovic in Western & Southern final
After getting broken in the first game, Serena Williams took control with her serve and took advantage of Ana Ivanovic’s sloppy play, improving to 5-0 in finals this year.
Ana Ivanovic was treated for a stomach ailment during her nearly 3-hour win over Maria Sharapova in the semifinals Saturday night. She didn’t have much left against Serena Williams, who dominated with her serve.
Serena Williams had 12 aces.
The only other event that Serena Williams has played six times without a title is Sydney. She finally got her win in Cincinnati with the help of a good matchup.
Serena Williams is 7-1 in her career against Ana Ivanovic, with the only loss coming at the Australian Open this year.
Despite the loss, Ana Ivanovic will move back into the top 10 in the WTA rankings with her strong showing in Cincinnati.
Serena Williams was forced to pull out of her Wimbledon doubles match after just three games on July 1 after appearing disoriented on court.
Before Tuesday’s second round doubles match at Wimbledon, Serena Williams, 32, was struggling to hit balls, seemed disoriented and even started crying.
The world No. 1 looked off during warmups, as she struggled to catch balls thrown to her and hit balls to her desired target. She also had trouble picking them up from the ground.
And then things got even worse for her during the match.
Serena Williams was forced to pull out of her Wimbledon doubles match after just three games after appearing disoriented on court (photo Business Insider)
After some disturbingly bad and bizarre play, which caused one of the commentators to declare that she’s “never seen anything like this before,” the match was ended on a forfeit from Serena and Venus Williams.
The second-round doubles match against Kristina Barrois and Stefanie Voegele was put off for over 10 minutes while she sat in her sideline chair and appeared to wipe her eyes as her blood pressure was checked.
Although no one is totally sure what happened, on Saturday, after losing to Alize Cornet, Serena Williams said in a post-game interview: “I suck right now at doubles. I told Venus the other day I don’t even want to play because I’m so bad right now. She should get a new partner.”
According to SI Tennis, the official reason for Serena Williams’ exit was “viral illness.”
One of Wimbledon tennis tournament’s most storied traditions is the all-white dress code, which has been in effect at the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club since 1877, even before the championships began.
Previously, some female players have tried to skirt the rule by donning a splash of color underneath their all-white outfits, like Serena Williams did in 2013.
So the officials introduced a stricter edict in 2014 that said: “Undergarments that either are or can be visible during play (including due to perspiration) must also be completely white and contain no more than 1cm of coloured trim.”
Former Wimbledon winner Pat Cash, who was forced to withdraw from the Wimbledon Majors tournament after his tennis shoes failed to pass dress code muster, called this rule “archaic.”
However, according to The Irish Examiner, Caroline Wozniacki didn’t see any uproar in the locker rooms over the newly-amended rule.
Wimbledon’s all-white dress code has been in effect since 1877, even before the championships began (photo Getty Images)
“I guess white is white and everyone wears white. It’s the same for everyone,” she said.
“I don’t think anyone is like showing off their underwear like that and getting it checked. That would be pretty creepy.”
“If we are playing in white, we should wear white underwear. But it’s kind of weird officials coming and checking. I think it’s strange,” Czech player Barbora Zahlavova Strycova reportedly said after her match against Li Na on Friday.
Third-seed Simona Halep didn’t mind the all-white rule at all.
“I think it’s special to play here. They have the special rules because you have to be in white. I think it’s not really difficult to get white clothes,” the Irish Examiner reported Simona Halep as saying.
“So I like this tradition. It’s really nice to see everybody in white clothes.”
Venus Williams had said that she would wear a splash of color under her Wimbledon whites in her Twitter feed: “RT @EleVenbyVenus: I may be in Wimbledon whites, but an EleVen #fashion show of color is underneath. #tiedye#python.”
After her win on Wednesday, Venus Williams told the Irish Independent: “I think it’s a nice change. I think everyone just kind of glows in white. Obviously not all year, because anything every day is boring. But during these two weeks, it’s nice.”
Serena Williams won her fifth US Open title in a thrilling final against Victoria Azarenka at Flushing Meadows.
World number one Serena Williams, 31, overcame a determined opponent and a testing wind to win 7-5 6-7 (6-8) 6-1 and repeat last year’s final victory against the Belarusian.
Serena Williams has now won 17 Grand Slam singles titles, moving her to within one of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, and seven short of Margaret Court’s record total of 24.
But after letting a double-break lead slip in the second set, and twice failing to serve out the match, Serena Williams was made to dig as deep as in any of her 16 previous major wins.
Serena Williams won her fifth US Open title in a thrilling final against Victoria Azarenka at Flushing Meadows
“Vika’s such a great opponent, such a great fighter and that’s why she’s been able to win multiple Grand Slams,” Serena Williams said of Victoria Azarenka after their contest.
“That’s why it was never over until match point.”
Victoria Azarenka, 24, had beaten Serena Williams twice this year, the last time in Cincinnati on the eve of the US Open, and clearly believed she could defeat the American on a bigger stage.
Serena Williams looked in ominously good form when she cracked a backhand cross-court to break in the opening game, but a couple of errors gave the advantage straight back.
Victoria Azarenka was dealing better with the gusting wind on Arthur Ashe Stadium and serving well, in marked contrast to Serena Williams, who also had to cope with a skirt that was clearly not designed for such conditions.
Serena Williams has apologized after reportedly appearing to criticize the victim in high-profile Steubenville rape case.
Rolling Stone magazine quoted world tennis number one Serena Williams as saying the teenager in the Steubenville, Ohio, case “shouldn’t have put herself in that position”.
Serena Williams has now released a statement on her website saying she was “deeply sorry for what was written”.
In March, two high school footballers were convicted of the Ohio rape.
The case, involving a 16-year-old girl, fiercely divided the small town, attracting nationwide media attention.
In an interview posted on Rolling Stone‘s website on Tuesday, Serena Williams was quoted as saying: “I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you – don’t take drinks from other people.
“She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember? It could have been much worse. She’s lucky.”
Serena Williams has apologized after reportedly appearing to criticize the victim in high-profile Steubenville rape case
According to Rolling Stone, Serena Williams added that the girl “shouldn’t have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that’s different”.
While not denying she made the statements, Serena Williams appeared on Wednesday to cast doubt on their accuracy.
Serena Williams said in a statement on her website: “What happened in Steubenville was a real shock for me. I was deeply saddened. For someone to be raped, and at only 16, is such a horrible tragedy! For both families involved – that of the rape victim and of the accused.
“I am currently reaching out to the girl’s family to let her know that I am deeply sorry for what was written in the Rolling Stone article. What was written – what I supposedly said – is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame.
“I have fought all of my career for women’s equality, women’s equal rights, respect in their fields – anything I could do to support women I have done. My prayers and support always goes out to the rape victim. In this case, most especially, to an innocent 16-year-old child.”
Serena Williams, a 16-time Grand Slam champion, is preparing to defend her title at Wimbledon next week.
Serena Williams won a second French Open title 11 years after her first with a convincing win over defending champion Maria Sharapova.
World number one Serena Williams, 31, was pushed at times but took control midway through the first set, winning 6-4, 6-4, in one hour and 46 minutes.
Serena Williams has now claimed 16 Grand Slam singles titles, moving her to within two of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, who have 18 each.
With an unbeaten run that stands at 31 matches, Serena Williams will be strongly favoured to add to that tally at Wimbledon next month.
“Today, when I won, I was trying to win the French Open. I wasn’t trying to get to number 16,” said Serena Williams.
“I think it’s really special. I feel like I definitely want to continue my journey.”
Maria Sharapova had come into Saturday’s final promising to “try something different” after failing to beat Serena Williams in their last 12 matches, stretching back to 2004.
Key to the Russian’s hopes was defending a serve that has been plagued by double faults in recent times.
At 0-40 in the opening game, things already looked bleak for Maria Sharapova, but she dug in and fired down an ace and one terrific second serve as she saw off four break points.
The second seed took that momentum into the following game to break the mighty american serve, and looked well set in the next at 40-15 – before Williams sparked into life.
A heavy forehand winner helped her back into the game and when she thumped away a smash on break point, Serena Williams let out a “come on!” that was the equal of Maria Sharapova’s early efforts.
Serena Williams won a second French Open title 11 years after her first with a convincing win over defending champion Maria Sharapova
Four games in a row put Serena Williams in command at 4-2, but Maria Sharapova showed the grit that has taken her to four Grand Slam titles as she battled her way back to 4-4 in some fierce baseline exchanges.
With the pressure on, Serena Williams raised her intensity still further and produced the kind of hitting that even Maria Sharapova cannot live with, forcing the Russian into a forehand error in game nine before serving out the set after 51 minutes.
That was five minutes longer than Sara Errani had managed to delay Serena Williams in their entire semi-final, and Maria Sharapova continued to cling on gamely.
She saved five break points in a gripping first game of the second set but, unable to trouble Serena Williams’ serve, she found herself under pressure again moments later.
Serena Williams proved just how much she has improved her movement on clay as she slid out wide for one defensive backhand on the way to breaking in game three, and she would not relinquish the advantage.
The 15,000 spectators in the main Chatrier stadium cheered Maria Sharapova as she held serve from 30-30 with defeat looming, but she was not about to be given a reprieve by her opponent.
Serena Williams demonstrated once again that her serve is the best shot in the game, firing down an ace to secure the title and dropping to her knees in celebration.
Maria Sharapova said: “She played a great match. She played strong, she played deep, served really good; served better than I did. She took her chances.”
Serena Williams made a shock exit at the Australian Open as injury derailed her hopes against Sloane Stephens in the quarter-finals.
Not long after a courtside microphone picked up the comment during her quarterfinal with Sloane Stephens, 19, not only did she lose to the teen, but she received a code violation after smashing her racket in fury.
Sloane Stephens outplayed Serena Williams, whose movement and serves had been slowed by a back injury, and beat the 15-time Grand Slam champion 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.
It was Serena Williams’ first loss since August 17, and her first defeat at a Grand Slam tournament since last year’s French Open.
Serena Williams’ downer of a Grand Slam Down Under started badly when she turned her right ankle in her opening match at Melbourne Park.
“I’ve had a tough two weeks between the ankle … and my back, which started hurting,” Serena Williams said.
“A lot of stuff.”
While Serena Williams packed for home – she and sister Venus have also lost in doubles – Sloane Stephens advanced to a semifinal on Thursday against defending champion Victoria Azarenka.
Serena Williams hurt her back in the eighth game of the second set and things got progressively worse. She yelled at herself on several occasions, and smashed a racket into the court, earning a $1,500 fine from tournament officials.
“I was running to the net for a drop shot,” Serena Williams said, describing the lead up to her injury.
“As I went to hit it, it was on the backhand. I even screamed on the court. I totally locked up after that.”
She reiterated after the match that her injuries had made this Australian Open difficult for her.
“Absolutely, I’m almost relieved that it’s over because there’s only so much I felt I could do,” she said.
“I’ve been thrown a lot of (curve) balls these two weeks.”
Serena Williams smashes racket after losing Australian Open 2013 quarterfinal to Sloane Stephens
Sloane Stephens has been, too, but has coped well, and the magnitude of her accomplishment only hit her while she was warming down after the match.
“I was stretching, and I was like, <<I’m in the semis of a Grand Slam>>. I was like, <<Whoa. It wasn’t as hard as I thought>>,” she said.
“To be in the semis of a Grand Slam is definitely a good accomplishment. A lot of hard work.”
The No. 29-seeded Sloane Stephens hadn’t been given much of a chance of beating Serena Williams, who lost only four matches in 2012 and was in contention to regain the No. 1 ranking at the age of 31.
Serena Williams’ latest winning streak included a straight-set win over Sloane Stephens at the Brisbane International this month.
Sloane Stephens had a picture of Serena Williams on her bedroom wall growing up and she joked in the post-match interview: “I will have to put up a poster of myself now!”
Third seed Serena Williams looked set to make routine progress through to the last four when she led by a set and a break, but Sloane Stephens had other ideas.
Starting to display the kind of form which carried her to her maiden grand slam quarter-final, she was hitting freely from the back of the court and made several moves forward to finish points off at the net.
It was turning into a real contest between the experienced Serena Williams and the 19-year-old, understandably tipped as her heiress apparent in American tennis.
But then the match took another turn as Serena Williams sustained a back spasm in lunging for a low ball at the net.
The teenager broke for a 5-3 second-set lead and although she could not immediately serve it out, Serena Williams, after taking a medical time-out, bravely hitting back to level it at 5-5.
Sloane Stephens regrouped following a bout of jitters to break again and take it to a decider.
Serena Williams’ frustration boiled over after three games of the final set, earning herself a code violation for whacking her racket into the court.
But she could console herself with the fact her back appeared to be loosening up, perhaps as a result of the medication prescribed earlier starting to kick in.
Serena Williams broke for a 4-3 lead but Sloane Stephens was not going away and she hit straight back before edging 5-4 up.
And this time it was Serena Williams who buckled as a series of tired groundstrokes gifted Sloane Stephens the win of her life.
After the match Serena Williams indicated that she wasn’t entirely heartbroken by the loss.
“I’m almost relieved it’s over because there’s only so much I felt I could do,” she said.
“It has been difficult. I have been thrown a lot of balls this week.”
Sloane Stephens will now meet world No 1 Victoria Azarenka, who earlier beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-1. “It should be fun,” she said.
“I am in the semis of a grand slam so I will give it my all and do the same thing again.”
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