Serena not shocked by exit

2013-07-01 20:36
Serena Williams (AFP)

London - Serena Williams insisted she wasn't shocked by her stunning Wimbledon exit against Sabine Lisicki because she knew the big-serving German was a major threat to her title defence.

The world number one's 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 defeat brought an end to her 34-match winning run and shattered her bid for a sixth Wimbledon crown.

Williams put a brave face on becoming the latest star to crash out at this year's Wimbledon.

"For me any loss is extremely tough to overcome. I probably couldn't be more disappointed," Serena said.

"But I don't think it's a huge shock. She is a great player.

"She should be ranked higher. She just has a super game, especially on grass.

"I feel like I had an extremely tough draw. Of all the last 16 matches I probably had the toughest one.

"C'mon guys, let's get with it. She's excellent. She's not a push-over."

Since an embarrassing first round loss against Virginie Razzano at last year's French Open, Williams had simply been unstoppable, winning 77 of her 80 matches and collecting the Wimbledon, US Open, French Open and Olympic titles in the process.

The 31-year-old, a 16-time Grand Slam champion, had swept through the first week, dropping just 11 games in her opening three matches, and many pundits had claimed it was a forgone conclusion that she would win the title.

But Williams was adamant the burden of living up to those expectations hadn't affected her in the slightest.

Instead, she said she had paid the price for changing her game-plan at the wrong moment in the third set, while also graciously paying tribute to the performance of a life-time from Lisicki.

"Every time I step out on the court I'm the favourite. I've grown to be used to that and I just play my game," Williams said.

"Sabine played really well. She always plays really well at Wimbledon, so I knew going in it would be a tough match. She has a massive serve.

"She definitely played a super aggressive game. When you have absolutely nothing to lose, it's like you can really play with so much freedom.

"She was reading my serve. I think also maybe I could have mixed it up more.

"I definitely had my opportunities and I didn't take them. Maybe I backed off a little bit at some points."

For the first time since making her Wimbledon debut, Williams was competing without her sister Venus, who pulled out injured before the tournament, while father Richard was also missing.

But she played down any talk that their absences may have affected her.

"No, it's been okay. It's been fine," she said. "My dad is always texting me and writing notes.

"I'm 31, I really have to go back to the drawing boards if I can't compete without one of them here then I really need to re-evaluate my life."

With Wimbledon brought to a premature conclusion, Williams will take time to fine-tune her game before setting her sights on the American hard-court season, which climaxes with the US Open.

"I'll just have to go back to the drawing boards and figure out a way how to win this match the next time," she said.

"But there's huge room for improvement for me.

"I just have to know that going forward, if I want to be successful, I'm never going to do it backing off. I have to play the game I can play. For me that's being more aggressive."

Asked who is most likely to replace her as the new Wimbledon champion on Saturday, she tipped fellow American Sloane Stephens, who eliminated her at the Australian Open in January.

"Sloane has a really good chance of winning. She has a great draw. I think she can take it. It would be really nice to see her win."


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