World No. 2 Anett Kontaveit broke down in tears during a US Open press conference but noted that there’s no shame in losing to Serena Williams. On Wednesday night in New York, Kontaveit clashed home favorite Williams on Arthur Ashe, in front of 29,959 spectators.
The whole Arthur Ashe stood behind Williams, who claimed a 7-6 (4) 2-6 6-2 win. 29,959 fans showed up for the Williams and Kontaveit match, setting up the new US Open attendance record. After Kontaveit received a question in Estonian, she broke down in tears and left the press room.
Anett Kontaveit couldn’t hold back her tears after last question and left press conference early 😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/obdzrAhnBL — DenizTheTennis (@denizthetenis) September 1, 2022
“I mean, it was hard, it was something I never experienced before,” Kontaveit said.
“I don’t think it’s a personal attack against me or anything. I mean, it’s fair. I definitely had no shame losing to Serena. It was very difficult with the crowd”.
Kontaveit: I didn’t play bad versus Williams
After losing a very tight first set, Kontaveit broke Williams three times in the second set to force a decider.
In the third set, Williams started with an early 2-0 lead but Kontaveit broke back in the third game. After just getting a break back, Kontaveit dropped her serve again in the fourth as Williams claimed two breaks in the rest of the match to complete a three-set win.
“I thought I didn’t play a bad match at all,” Kontaveit said earlier in the press conference. “She definitely raised her level in the third set. She played amazing. In the first set she was serving so well in these important moments.
I fought really hard, thought I played a decent match. She was better today. It was her moment. I was trying to do my own thing. Of course, this is totally about her. I was very aware of that”. Kontaveit, 26, was playing Williams for the first time in her career.