Tennis

Williams says she's not a robot

World No. 1 says she's not a robot and pays tribute to Kerber

For the second successive Grand Slam, Serena Williams faltered.

When almost everyone felt she was a shoo-in, the world No. 1 came unstuck, pressure clearly getting to her, even as her opponent lifted her game to new levels.

In the end, Williams couldn't but help remind everyone that she wasn't a "robot" and couldn't win every match she played, after slumping to a shock defeat in the Australian Open final against Germany's Angelique Kerber.

The world No. 1 and top seed was overwhelming favourite to win her 22nd Grand Slam title at Melbourne Park yesterday, but an error-strewn performance handed the German a stunning 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory.

It stopped Williams matching Steffi Graf's Open-era record of 22 Grand Slam titles, which will now have to wait at least until the French Open in June.

The 34-year-old, who had won all six of her previous Melbourne Park finals, was the defending champion and won three Grand Slam titles last year. But she said she was not infallible.

"It's interesting. I mean, every time I walk in this room, everyone expects me to win every single match, every single day of my life," she said at her post-match press conference.

"As much as I would like to be a robot, I'm not. I try to. But, you know, I do the best that I can.

"I try to win every single time I step out there, every single point, but realistically I can't do it. Maybe someone else can, but I wasn't able to do it."

Williams' tilt at another title was ultimately undone by 46 unforced errors to Kerber's 13.

Twenty-three of them came in the opening set as she uncharacteristically sprayed balls wide and long, while missing almost half of her shots from the net.

"I was missing a lot off the ground, coming to the net. She kept hitting some great shots actually every time I came in," Williams said.

WRONG SHOTS

"I kept picking the wrong shots coming into it. But, honestly, it's something to learn from, just to try to get better."

Williams paid tribute to Kerber's never-say-die attitude in pressing so hard for her first Grand Slam title at the age of 28.

"I was actually really happy for her. She's been around a really long time. We've had a number of matches. I've beaten her a lot," said Williams, who had a 5-1 record against Kerber before the Melbourne final.

"She played so well today. She has an attitude that a lot of people can learn from - just to always stay positive and to never give up.

"I was really inspired by that. If I couldn't win, I'm happy she did." 
- AFP.

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