Serena Williams was knocked off the top spot after Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic beat her at the U.S. Open. Thursday night’s match caused Williams to lose her chance at making Grand Slam title history.
USA Today reported Pliskova won in a 6-2 7-6 (7-5) upset.
Williams told reporters she made many mistakes after the game at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“I don’t think much went well today,” she said of losing to first-time major semifinalist Pliskova. “I made a lot of errors. I didn’t play as well as I’ve been playing.”
The Guardian reported Williams went up against Simona Halep Wednesday, and though she defeated her in three sets, some wondered if the less than 22-hour turnaround caused Williams’ upset Thursday.
But Williams dismissed those claims.
“We play every single week,” she said. “I have been in Toronto or Montreal or Cincinnati where I play Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. I mean, if I’m not used to playing this, and I really should think of something different. I’m not going to sit here and make an excuse because that’s not me.”
A bad knee is to blame for her poor performance.
Williams called her ailment “serious” and said it flared up “after the second or third round.” She declined to detail the diagnosis.
“I wasn’t able to move the way I wanted to move,” Williams explained. “When you’re injured you’re thinking of other things when you should be just playing and thinking of your shots. My mind was just a little bit everywhere. But it was what it was.”
“I don’t remember having seen her move so slowly ever,” her coach Patrick Mouratoglou told reporters. “As soon as she started, it was terrible.”
The resulting defeat cost Williams her 23rd Grand Slam. She’ll continue to share the 22 record titles with Steffi Graff. The tennis stars will also share the 186-week record for the No. 1 world ranking. Williams will lose the top spot to Germany’s Angelique Kerber once the new rankings are revealed Sept. 12.