- Serena Williams lost an Abu Dhabi exhibition match against her sister Venus Williams on Thursday.
- It was the first time Williams has played since her meltdown at the US Open final in September.
- Ahead of the exhibition, tennis journalists were reportedly told that the US Open loss was off-limits at media events.
- But one reporter asked Williams about the incident anyway, and whether the American was hoping to avoid the subject.
- Williams dismissed the question, saying she doesn’t have the time to talk about it.
Tennis journalists were reportedly told not to ask Serena Williams about her 2018 US Open meltdown, but one ignored the instruction and decided to ask her anyway.
Williams was given three code violations during her straight-sets loss to Naomi Osaka in September’s dramatic US Open final. The violations were for coaching, smashing her racket, and for calling the umpire Carlos Ramos a “thief” when he docked her a point.
The infamous match was Williams’ last competitive outing, but she returned to the court for an exhibition against her sister Venus Williams on Thursday.
Following the event, however, journalists were reportedly told the US Open incident was off-limits.
“We’ve been told ahead of this morning’s press conferences, and again now ahead of her post-match presser, that we’re not allowed to ask Serena about the US Open,” Sport360.com tennis journalist Reem Abulleil tweeted this week.
Abulleil later added: “A clarification from IMG that the request not to ask Serena about the US Open final did not come from Serena.”
We've been told ahead of this morning's press conferences, and again now ahead of her post-match presser that we're not allowed to ask Serena about the US Open. #MWTC
— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) December 27, 2018
Regardless, one reporter asked Williams about losing her cool three months ago and whether she was avoiding the subject entirely.
According to BBC Sport, here’s what Williams said:
“I don’t avoid anything. I just don’t have time to talk about that. I talked about it, everyone talked about it for months and months and months and it’s best to move on to bigger and better things.”
Williams and Ramos to be kept apart
Williams will compete at the first major of the 2019 season when she travels to Melbourne for the Australian Open in January.
As it was previously reported that Ramos and Williams would be kept apart at the tournament, the incident is likely to be discussed further whether Williams likes it or not.
But, right now, Williams appears to be more focused on equaling Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand-slam singles titles, something she can achieve should she win an eighth Australian Open title next month.
“It has always been significant since I got 22, then 23,” she said, according to the BBC. “It’s something that I clearly want but I have to be able to get there and beat a lot of good players to get it.”
Williams lost the Abu Dhabi exhibition match to her sister by two sets to one, but said she felt “pretty fit” this week.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.