Serena Williams is letting fans know just how thankful she is for their support following a disappointing outcome for her at the Australian Open this week.
The 39-year-old–who many consider being the greatest athlete of all time–suffered a devastating loss to Japanese star Naomi Osaka on Thursday. In a post-match interview, when she was asked about the defeat, she was seen bursting into tears, showing just how upsetting this outcome was for the tennis legend.
Williams posted a beautiful image on Instagram following the match, which features her staring up at the sky while wearing a shirt that boasts about being strong and powerful. Underneath the photo, Serena told fans that she that the wishes she “could have done better,” before saying how much she “loves and adores” all of her supporters Down Under.
“Melbourne and my Australian fans,” she wrote in her caption on Instagram. “Today was not an ideal outcome or performance but it happens… I am so honoured to be able to play in front of you all. Your support -your cheers, I only wish I could have done better for you today.”
She continued, “I am forever in debt and grateful to each and every single one of you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I adore you.”
During interviews after the match, Serena got emotional while speaking to the media, admitting that she made too many easy mistakes, which ended up costing her the match.
“It was a big error day for me today,” she told reporters. “I had so many opportunities. It was just… I made too many mistakes there and easy mistakes. Not like I was on the run or anything. They were just easy, easy mistakes.”
“The difference today was errors,” she continued. “I made so many errors today. Honestly, there were opportunities where I could have won. I could have been up 5-0.”
Thursday’s defeat ended Serena’s bid for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title. In one interview, the tennis legend was asked if this attempt might have been her saying goodbye to Melbourne Park for good.
“If I ever say farewell I wouldn’t tell anyone,” she responded.
Following her win against Williams, Osaka will now be the heavy favourite against Jennifer Brady in Saturday‘s final.