The No. 1 ranked tennis player in the world, Serena Williams, faced a stunning upset after she was bested by rising sensation Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic at the U.S. Open Thursday.
Williams, recently named the greatest athlete ever by Nike, was gracious as she accepted defeat to the No. 16 ranked Pliskova.
Pliskova, a rising star on the court, has something in common with Williams. She too is part of a sister combo looking to carry the torch from the Williams siblings.
Karolina and her twin Krystina, both 24, began playing the sport when they were 4 years old. They are both junior grand slam champions and have won 3 double titles together.
Following her defeat, the 34-year-old Williams told reporters: “I don’t think much went well today. I made a lot of errors. I didn’t play as well as I’ve been playing.”
She was tied with tennis icon Steffi Graf for the record of Grand Slam victories at 22, Williams was looking to beat that record and win her 23rd at the 2016 U.S Open.
Her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, told reporters: “Not winning [this] title will bother her much more, but sure, she’s not going to be happy not to be No. 1 anymore. It’s winning or nothing for her. Final or first round, it doesn’t matter. She didn’t win the tournament. At this point in her career, she cannot be happy just being in the final.