PARIS (Reuters) - Serena Williams said she felt “pretty far away” from her optimal level after suffering a surprise third round defeat at the French Open to Sofia Kenin and suggested she might seek a wildcard entry into a grasscourt tournament in preparation for Wimbledon.
Williams’s was bidding for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles in Paris but the 10th seed was knocked out 6-2 7-5 by fellow American Kenin.
Williams, 37, said she hoped she could still get in shape for Wimbledon and resume her pursuit of a 24th major title.
“I’m definitely feeling super short on matches and just getting in the swing of things,” Williams told a news conference minutes after walking off the Philippe Chatrier Court.
Williams usually gives the Wimbledon warm-up events a miss and opts to train at her Florida base before travelling to Britain for the only grasscourt major in the year’s calendar.
But needing time on court, she said she was thinking of playing a warm-up tournament this time around.
“I have some time on my hands so maybe I’ll jump in and get a wildcard at one of these grasscourt events and see what happens.”
Williams has competed at five Grand Slams events since the birth of her daughter in September 2017 but has struggled for game time this year, playing only five tournaments so far.
“I am glad I came (to Paris) but it has just been a really gruelling season for me,” she said. “I feel like I had some great runs last year and I am hoping to still build on that this year and keep it going.”
Generous with her words for Kenin, Williams said she had come up against a 20-year-old player who was in “unbelievable” form. Kenin is making only her second appearance in the French Open main draw and was knocked out in the first round in 2018.
“In that first set she hit inches from the line. I haven’t played anyone like that in a while,” she said, visibly disappointed.
Reporting by Richard Lough, editing by Pritha Sarkar