Serena Williams’ much-anticipated return to singles tennis at Wimbledon ended in defeat on Tuesday.
The 40-year-old tennis star was beat out by France’s Harmony Tan 5-7 6-1 6-7 (7-10) in the first round. The 23-time Grand Slam title winner described the loss as “insane and intense” in a post shared on Instagram, where she kept up the part of a good sport.
“That was insane and intense. Not the result I came for, but my goodness I enjoyed that. I hope you did as well. Onward and up,” she wrote in the caption of her post, ending with a set of two smiley faces.
The match marked nearly a year since the seven-time Wimbledon champion was forced to withdraw from her opening round at Wimbledon. After sustaining an injury to her hamstring, Williams walked off the court in tears.
In response to her Tuesday loss, fans of the tennis master were quick to lend their praise and support.
In a post shared on Twitter, the official account for Wimbledon, which is the world’s oldest tennis tournament, described her presence at the match as a “pleasure.”
In response to William’s post on Instagram, one fan replied, “Incredible. You are incredible. Such an inspiration.”
“Forever have my respect and support,” another commented. “Can’t wait to see you back out there again!”
The official account for The French Open, also known as Roland-Garros, also commented on the performance, in which spectators stood and gave Williams a standing ovation.
“A well-deserved standing ovation for the 7-time champion,” posted the account.
“Despite the result, that’s why Serena Williams will go down as one of sports all-time greats. Nothing to prove but at 40 gave absolutely everything,” another Twitter user posted. “Incredible desire. Phenomenal athlete. Legend”
“Serena Williams could lose in the first round of every major she plays for the rest of her career, and she’d still be the greatest tennis player -- male or female -- ever,” another tweeted in response to her loss.
Supporting Williams during the match was her sister, Venus Williams, and mother Oracene Price.
The two women were seated behind Williams’ husband, Alexis Ohanian, who was cheering the tennis star on from the sidelines.
In addition to having 14 women’s doubles Grand Slam titles to her name, Williams has 73 singles titles.