Serena Williams admitted there is ‘still a little left’ in her after her second-round triumph on Wednesday, despite the expectation the Grand Slam could be her final tournament before retirement.
The 40-year-old revealed she was planning on ‘evolving away’ from tennis earlier in August leading to speculation that she could bring the curtain down on her illustrious career at Flushing Meadows but the star is not quite ready to take her final bow.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion knocked out No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit 7-6 2-6 6-2 in a three-set thriller Wednesday night to set up a third-round match against Australia’s Alja Tomljanovic.
Following her second-round triumph, Williams admitted she is in no rush to bow out in New York.
‘It’s no rush here,’ she said. ‘I’m just loving this crowd. It’s really fantastic. There’s still a little left in me so we’ll see.’
When asked how she beat the World No. 2 after playing very few matches this year, Williams responded with a wry smile.
Serena Williams admitted there is ‘still a little left’ in her after her second-round triumph
The 40-year-old knocked second seed Anett Kontaveit out of the US Open on Wednesday
‘Well, I’m a pretty good player,’ she said before laughing. ‘This is what I do best. I love a challenge. I love rising to the challenge.
‘So yeah, I haven’t played a lot of matches but I’ve been practicing really well and the last few matches it just hasn’t been coming together and I’ve been like, “But this just isn’t me”.’
‘But the last few matches here in New York it has really been coming together. Maybe I should have traveled with you all these last few weeks,’ she told the crowd.
When asked if she was surprising herself with her level she laughed and said, ‘No. I’m just Serena so…’
The American star said she loved the ‘fantastic’ crowd at the Arthur Ashe Stadium
The 23-time Grand Slam champions claimed she was not surprised at her quality this week
Williams admitted losing the second set was a wake up call as she claimed she wanted to give her best effort as it could have drawn a close to her career.
She said: ‘After I lost the second set, I thought, “Oh, my goodness, I better give my best effort because this could be it,” really I just wanted to keep trying and see what I could do. Just do my best and I’m just really excited to be honest.’
Williams claimed that, despite her competitive nature, she was enjoying simply playing the Grand Slam without a target on her back.
‘I’m super competitive,’ she said. ‘Honestly, I’m just looking at it as a bonus. I don’t have anything to prove. I have absolutely nothing to lose.’
Williams insisted she was enjoying playing at the event as she has ‘absolutely nothing to lose’
‘I never get to play like this – since ´98, really,’ she added ‘Literally, I´ve had an `X´ on my back since ´99,’ the year she claimed her first Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open at age 17.
‘It’s super fun and I really enjoy just coming out and enjoying it. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to do that.’
Williams will take to court alongside her sister, Venus on Thursday as they team up for the first time at Flushing Meadows since 2014.
Serena then faces World No. 46 Tomljanovic on Friday as she looks to keep her fairytale of New York alive.
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group