Melbourne - Serena Williams on Saturday
said she wasn't a "robot" and couldn't win every match she played
after slumping to a shock defeat in the Australian Open final against Germany's
The world number one and top seed was
overwhelming favourite to win her 22nd Grand Slam title at Melbourne Park, but
an error-strewn performance handed the German a stunning 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory.
It stopped Williams matching Steffi Graf's
Open-era record of 22 Grand Slam titles, which will now have to wait at least
until the French Open in June.
The 34-year-old, who had won all six of her
previous Melbourne Park finals, was the defending champion and won three Grand
Slam titles last year. But she said she was not infallible.
"It's interesting. I mean, every time
I walk in this room, everyone expects me to win every single match, every
single day of my life," she said at her post-match press conference.
"As much as I would like to be a
robot, I'm not. I try to. But, you know, I do the best that I can.
"I try to win every single time I step
out there, every single point, but realistically I can't do it. Maybe someone
else can, but I wasn't able to do it."
Williams' tilt at another title was
ultimately undone by 46 unforced errors to Kerber's 13.
Twenty-three of them came in the opening
set as she uncharacteristically sprayed balls wide and long, while missing
almost half of her shots from the net.
"I was missing a lot off the ground,
coming to the net. She kept hitting some great shots actually every time I came
in," Williams said.
"I think I kept picking the wrong
shots coming into it. But, honestly, it's something to learn from, just to try
to get better."
While her mistakes helped Kerber, the
German also played some scintillating tennis off the baseline and Williams paid
tribute to her never-say-die attitude in pressing so hard for her first ever
Grand Slam title at the age of 28.
"I was actually really happy for her.
She's been around a really long time. We've had a number of matches. I've
beaten her a lot," said Williams, who had a 5-1 record against Kerber
before the Melbourne final.
"She played so well today. She had an
attitude that I think a lot of people can learn from: just to always stay positive
and to never give up.
"I was really inspired by that. If I
couldn't win, I'm happy she did."
Williams made clear during the tournament
she was trying not to think about Graf's record, but she denied that nerves
about equalling the milestone played a part in her defeat.
"Once it got started, it was so
intense from the beginning till the end that I didn't really have time to be
nervous," she said.
"No, I didn't think about the record
at all. I think more or less I thought just about winning this match. It wasn't
necessarily the record for me."