BY GODWIN AIKIGBE
Serena Williams says she would not make any excuses for failing to defend her French Open title, but would find ways to learn from her mistakes for improvement.
The world number one said this after she suffered a 7-5, 6-4 defeat to Garbine Muguruza in the Women’s final of Roland Garros on Saturday.
“I’m not one to ever make excuses. I have played four or five matches in a row lot of times. I just didn’t do what I needed to do. I didn’t play the game I needed to play to win and she did. Adductor or not, she played to win. That’s what she did,” Serena said after the match on Philippe-Chatrier Court.
She added: “I want to play the best, and I kind of gear up for that. It was a great challenge. She’s definitely hitting hard. She just goes for broke on every shot and it works for her. She has a bright future, obviously. She knows how to play on the big stage and clearly she knows how to win Grand Slams.
“I haven’t had a lot of time to think about what made the difference in this match,” said Serena, her voice now glacially composed. “I want to dissect and see what I can learn, and what can I do to get better from it. That’s the only way to keep improving.
“I know she won the first set by one point, which just goes to show you have to play the big points well. I think she did that.”
Muguruza, 22, became a Grand Slam champion for the first time, as the world number four denied Williams the chance to tie Steffi Graf’s Open Era record of 22 Grand Slam singles titles.
She becomes the youngest first-time major winner since Victoria Azarenka at the 2012 Australian Open and is the third straight first-time winner in as many major finals, following in the footsteps of Flavia Pennetta at last year’s US Open and Angelique Kerber at the Australian Open in January.
The Venezuelan-born Spaniard cited Kerber’s extraordinary upset of Williams in the Australian Open final in January as instilling further belief.
“Yeah, I thought about it,” Muguruza said. “When you see people that are winning and there’s new faces, it makes you think like, I can be one of those faces … Hey, if Kerber can I can, or whoever is there. Yeah, for sure, it helps to see new faces.”