Serena Williams lost in the first round of Wimbledon, was it her last grass match?

My Tuesday schedule was blown to smithereens because of Wimbledon. I don’t know why I do this! Wimbledon started on Monday and this fortnight is going to be shambolic. Wimbledon banned players from Russia and Belarus, which means that the world #1 on the men’s side, Daniil Medvedev, isn’t playing. The ban means top players on both the men’s and women’s side are missing. The ban also means that the ATP and WTA removed the “points” for Wimbledon, so now the Slam is a glorified exhibition. In addition, there was a Covid outbreak at the start of the tournament and several top players – Matteo Berrettini and Marin Cilic – withdrew at the last minute. A lot of people think Novak Djokovic looks somewhat ill too, and he’s famously unvaccinated. Watch this space.

All of that was the backdrop for Serena Williams’s first singles match in 364 days. Last year, she retired in the first round of Wimbledon after she tore her hamstring on the wet grass. She spent a whole year off the tour. Then two weeks ago, she suddenly announced that she was taking wild cards into Eastbourne (to play doubles) and Wimbledon (singles). She played two good doubles matches in Eastbourne… but that wasn’t enough preparation for Wimbledon. Especially not for a 40-year-old woman who hadn’t played and completed a competitive match in over a year. So on Tuesday, Serena lost to Harmony Tan, a young Frenchwoman who sliced and diced her way to a three-hour-three-minute victory over the GOAT.

The bad news was that Serena was exceptionally rusty and that Serena suffered from a very slow start. The good news is that once Serena lost the first set, she played a lot better and her movement was great and her groundstrokes were there. The other bad news is that Serena just… has a very weird problem with slices? I blame Roberta Vinci and that US Open semifinal in 2015.

In her press conference after the loss, Serena wouldn’t say if this was her last Wimbledon, but she did suggest that she will play the US Open in a few months. Some tennis fans think that the USO could be her goodbye. I don’t know. I personally don’t believe that this was Serena’s last appearance at Wimbledon, just like I don’t believe Roger Federer will allow his last match at Wimbledon (last year) to end in a bagel set.

One nice piece of news – Venus Williams arrived at Wimbledon and she will play Mixed Doubles with Jamie Murray.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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12 Responses to “Serena Williams lost in the first round of Wimbledon, was it her last grass match?”

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  1. M says:

    She hadn’t played for a year, so I didn’t expect much. She has nothing to prove as the GOAT, but I know she has a high standard for herself and won’t be satisfied with this appearance. Glad to see V there as well. Love them both.

  2. Noki says:

    Is there a specific goal she wants to reach so that no one even comes close to breaking the record for generations to come? I mean she is the GOAT at this point,no one would blame her for bowing out as she seems to be struggling the last few years.(And yes I would say the same to a man)

    • DeniseMich says:

      She wants to beat Margaret Court’s record.

      I think Serena should have retired 5 years ago. She should have left on a high note.

  3. AnnaKist_ says:

    She’s not playing for the money, that’s for sure, bit more likely wanting to take Margaret Court’s crown. I think she should bow out now, and this result is probably her last hurrah as she transitions into retirement. . Whatever she does and however she does it, will be in true Serena style. She has been a phenomenon in tennis and always a delight to watch. I have a feeling we will hear of Serena in the future, showcasing some of her other talents.

  4. Popsicle W says:

    I thought she moved better here than she did in her last few matches. Personally, I think Serena’s issue isn’t age, it’s fitness and lack of play. Even Novax is struggling from lack of play. Serena is the goat and can do what she wants but if this is going to be her swan song, I hope she puts a little more effort into it.

  5. ChillinginDC says:

    Yeah she just needs some more games under her belt honestly. She was rusty. I saw some nasty comments about Naomi and tennis world is a mess.

  6. Nic919 says:

    She was brilliant at times in the match but it was clear she hadn’t played enough competitively to sustain it. I think she is back next year.

  7. Amy Bee says:

    Roger has already said he wants to play Wimbledon next year. We’ll see. As for Serena, I don’t know if she will play next year but if it was her last Wimbledon, then she went out on her own terms. I thought she played really well yesterday, heck she almost won the match but I if she had won I think she would have withdrawn from the tournament in the next round because she wouldn’t have recovered in time.

  8. tamsin says:

    I so want Serena to officially match Margaret Court’s record, in terms of being a tennis player, but Serena is the GOAT and beat her as great tennis player long ago. It would also be poetic justice. But this comeback is getting excruciating to watch. Since she hasn’t played for so long, it wasn’t surprising her stamina gave in. Wish Serena all the best and hope to see her playing after Wimbledon. Who is her new coach?

  9. Ally says:

    Did you see all the rumors that there were major covid outbreaks at the french and people just played anyway? What is wrong with people?

  10. Julia K says:

    I feel so bad for her. No matter who you are, there will always be someone younger, stronger, faster who play their hearts out because they have nothing to lose. I hope she finds the strength to make the right decision for herself.

  11. Kali says:

    I say this as a lifelong Serena fan. I think she should have retired years ago.

    By chasing Court’s record, she has given it legitimacy when the truth is its inflated due to the lack of competition at that time. Serena is the GOAT, plain and simple! But she’s introduced doubt into the debate by playing solely to try to get that 24th slam. These stops and starts and bad losses are painful, and I see no desire to play tennis for tennis’ sake; Serena is playing to top Court (an inferior player and also a repellent person) when clearly she’d rather be home chilling with her family and running her businesses. I hope Serena can just make peace with never getting 24 and move on, happily.