Despite starting strong in the U.S. Open tournament and breaking the record for the most Grand Slam match wins ever with 308, Serena Williams’s success came to a screeching halt in Flushing Meadows in the semifinals. With an injury to her left knee aggravated, Williams fell 6-2, 7-6 (5) to the Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova. She not only lost out on the opportunity to play for the title, but she also lost her No. 1 ranking. So what’s next for Williams? Surely she’s preparing herself for the next tournament and to regain her spot at the top, right? Wrong.
Williams told CNN she needs a break, namely in the hopes of fully healing so she can come back stronger than ever from nagging knee and shoulder pains. She hasn’t given a fixed deadline on when exactly she will step back on the court.
“I’m definitely taking it a day at a time. I’m tired of playing tournaments unhealthy and taking losses that I would never lose,” Williams said. “I definitely want to make sure I’m healthy and playing at my best or at least 80% healthy or 70% healthy — that way I can be able to play at a higher level.”
Williams is scheduled to compete in three more tournaments before the year is over, including two in China and then the WTA Championships in Singapore. However, it’s unclear if she will withdraw from the competitions, as she did the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati back in August before the U.S. Open.
And while Williams didn’t want to go further into detail about her career or her No. 2 ranking right now, her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, admitted that it hasn’t been an easy year.
“We have to be honest — it has been a bad season for her,” Mouratoglou shared with CNN. “She’s been injured a lot, which makes it worse because she couldn’t play much.
He continued: “She played only eight tournaments, which is really, really, not much. For Serena, any result that is not a title is a bad result — so a final of a grand slam is a bad result for her. We can’t be satisfied with one grand slam final and two finals lost.”
However, Mouratoglou is sure that Williams will get healthy and come for all the Grand Slam titles in 2017.
“It’s a bad year, there are many explanations but we have to learn and be better next year and that is definitely the goal. This is not satisfying at all.”
As she heals, Williams has released the fall collection of her Serena Williams Signature Statement collection for HSN and been traveling.