Serena Williams remained upbeat and refused to discuss retirement after her shock loss to Harmony Tan in the first round of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships on Tuesday. It was only the second time the American lost a fully played first round match at a major.
The 23-time women’s singles Grand Slam champion was playing her first competitive singles match in over 12 months. It looked like Williams was back in her groove after she won the second set 6-1 after losing the first 7-5, but Tan refused to give in and won the match 7-6 in the third set tie-break after three hours and 10 minutes.
Williams received a standing ovation from the crowd present on Centre Court after her valiant effort. The 40-year-old’s shock loss raised a number of questions about the American tennis great’s future in the sport, but she refused to entertain talk of retirement as she enjoyed being back on court.
“Not the result I came for, but my goodness I enjoyed that,” Williams wrote on Instagram after the game. “I hope you did as well. Onward and up.”
“I don’t know,” Williams said in her post match press conference when asked about her future in the game. “We’re in the summer now and right in the swing of it. I’m just playing for right now and I’ll see how I feel and just to go from there.”
“That’s a question I can’t answer. I don’t know. Who knows? Who knows where I’ll pop up,” she added when questioned about playing again at the All England Club.
The next major is the US Open, which begins on Aug. 29 and Williams indicated that she will begin preparations to play at her home tournament. The seven-time Wimbledon champion even suggested that she could play the tournaments leading up to the final major of the year.
“When you’re at home, especially in New York, and the U.S. Open, that being the first place I’ve won a Grand Slam, is something that’s always super special,” Williams said. “There’s definitely lots of motivation to get better and to play at home.”
Tan, who was making her Wimbledon singles debut, admitted that she was “scared” to face Williams in the first round and was only hoping to win a few games against the legend of the sport. The 24-year-old Frenchwoman will next face 32nd seed Sara Sorribes Tormo in the second round.