Serena Williams has confirmed she will play at this year’s French Open at Roland Garros as she continues her quest for a record equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title.
The American’s last attempt at the US Open was abruptly brought to an end after being stunned out at the semifinals by Victoria Azarenka.
However, Williams who had earlier been undecided about the French Open due to the coronavirus protocols, had insisted an Achilles issue early in the deciding set that required heavy strapping did not affect the outcome and will not prevent her competing at the French Open later this month.
When asked Thursday night whether she would compete for a third title at Roland Garros, she answered: “Yeah, I mean, I’m definitely going to be going to Paris.”
On her defeat, Williams said: “I started really strong. Then she just kept fighting. She just changed and started playing better and better. Maybe I took a little too much off the gas pedal at some point. She played really well.
“It’s obviously disappointing. At the same time, I did what I could today. I feel like other times I’ve been close and I could have done better. Today I felt like I gave a lot.”
The pair are good friends, and Williams paid tribute to Azarenka’s resilience saying: “She’s had a lot of, I would say, downs in her career. She started on a lot of highs.
“I don’t know how she stayed positive, to be honest. That’s a good lesson for all of us. No matter what, you just got to keep going. Hopefully she keeps living her dream.”
Williams will be 39 years old in three weeks and will head to Paris in a quest to claim her fourth French Open title and first since 2015.
She last won her major title at the 2017 Australian Open when she was in her early pregnancy stage with her daughter, Olympia.