In a surprise upset, Serena Williams lost to fellow American Sofia Kenin in the third round of the French Open on Saturday, making this her earliest loss at a major tournament in five years. But that didn't stop Serena from addressing her followers on Instagram with some uplifting words. On Sunday, she posted a motivational message of perseverance that resonated with fans around the world.
"Yesterday was not my day," Williams, 37, captioned the photo of herself raising her arms and racket over her head, a look of frustration on her face. "But it’s about getting up time and time again after you fall. Here’s to a multitude of tomorrows."
Followers and celebrity friends quickly responded with words of support for the 23-time Grand Slam winner.
Tom Brady wrote, "You got that right," adding a goat emoji, symbolizing the title, Greatest of All Time, (which has been bestowed upon him in football).
"Yes ma'am," responded Eva Longoria, along with three clapping hands emojis.
The Russian-born Kenin, 20, who moved to the US when she was a baby, outplayed Williams throughout the match, shocking fans and even herself with her 6-2, 7-5 victory. "Serena is such a tough player. I'm still trying to process what just happened," she said after the match. "She's a true champion and an inspiration."
Williams also had positive words about the 35th-ranked Kenin who played her heart out in yesterday's match. "She played really well,” Williams said. "I feel like she, in that first set in particular, hit pretty much inches from the line. I hadn't played anyone like that in a long time..."
After suffering from multiple injuries over the past year and withdrawing from the Miami Open, Williams came to Paris in a positive mindset, wearing an outfit designed by Virgil Abloh and Nike with the words "Champion," "Queen," "Goddess," and "Mother" in French on it.
"Let the Roland Garros begin," Williams captioned the photo of herself posing with Abloh, the artistic director of Louis Vuitton's menswear collection and CEO of the Milan-based label Off-White.
This wasn't Williams' first shocking defeat in recent years. Naomi Osaka beat Williams at the 2018 US Open. Osaka was also defeated in the third round of the French Open on Saturday.
In addition to dealing with illness and injury, Williams sat out four Grand Slams in the 2017-2018 while she took time off to have and care for her daughter Alexis Olympia.
"I'm glad I came," said Williams of this year's French Open. "But it's just been a really grueling season for me."
Up-and-comer Kenin moves on to the next round where she will face Australian player Ashleigh Barty.