I didn’t get to sleep until like 4:30-ish,” Serena Williams said. “I definitely think that’s not the best way to plan for the final, so yeah, it was [hard]. It’s definitely tough when you go to bed at 4.”
After Serena Williams’ stunning loss in the U.S. Open women’s final yesterday, with Samantha Stosur pulling off a 6-2, 6-3 upset, Williams’ father, Richard, didn’t blame the chair umpire’s decision to penalize his daughter for yelling during a game point. Instead, he told The Post it was a late night, poor USTA scheduling and her own stubborn streak that cost her a title.
Williams appeared lethargic and weary-legged in getting run ragged by an unheralded Australian who hadn’t won a single tournament this year. The way the USTA chose to reschedule after last week’s rainouts, Williams played three straight days while the men were spared that fate, with their final slated for today.
Stosur had to deal with the same hardship, but her Saturday semifinal was much earlier. Williams’ match didn’t start until 10:11 p.m, and finished almost at midnight, as she was extended to 6-4 in the second set by world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. And while Venus Williams politely declined comment, Richard said fatigue contributed.
“I just think Serena was tired,” Richards Williams said, which his daughter acknowledged. “She played a long match [Saturday] night, 6-4 second set. She didn’t start, didn’t get out there until after 10 o’clock. She didn’t get back until after 2 o’clock in the morning, get to sleep until after 4 in the morning.”
She still insisted on hitting the practice court hard yesterday — too hard, according to her father.
“She was already tired and wore herself out at practice,” said her father, who has been very philosophical about just being happy to have his daughter alive following her pulmonary embolism earlier this year. “I was telling her to come off the court and she wouldn’t. Stosur played [Saturday], too, but her match was so much earlier. She played well, but Serena was just dead tired.”
“The scheduling was bad. They talked about the men playing three days in a row, but what about the women? So the scheduling — and not listening — is why she lost.”