Serena Williams said she couldn’t say whether she would play Wimbledon again after her first-round loss to Harmony Tan.
Williams lost 7-5 1-6 7-6(7) in an epic three-hour, 10-minute tussle against Tan on her first appearance on a singles court since she bowed out injured against Aliaksandra Sasnovich at the first-round stage at SW19 in 2021.
And she said after the defeat that her performance was “definitely better than last year”, but added that she was unable to answer whether the defeat would be her last match at The Championships.
“It was definitely a very long battle and fight, and it’s definitely better than last year,” she said, before adding she was unable to answer whether she would return to SW19 next year.
“That’s a question I can’t answer.”
She did, though, not rule out an appearance in the final Grand Slam of the year at the US Open at Flushing Meadows, which starts in August.
“I mean, when you’re at home, especially in New York, and the US Open, that being the first place I’ve won a Grand Slam [in 1999], is something that’s always super special,” she added.
“There’s definitely lots of motivation to get better and to play at home.”
For Tan, it was just her third win at a Grand Slam, after making the second round of the French (2021) and the Australian (2022), but she said in her post-match interview that her expectations were low ahead of the encounter.
“When I saw the draw I was really scared,” she began.
“Because it’s Serena Williams, she’s a legend and I was like ‘oh my god how can I play, and if I could win one or two games it was really good for me!’
“I would like to thank everybody today and my team and my coach Nathalie Tauziat, who also played Serena. Thank you so much for being with me.”
Next up for Tan, she faces Sara Sorribes in round two.