Six months after that meltdown, Serena Williams may have actually admitted that her controversial and unprecedented US Open finals outburst went well over the top.
The former No. 1 whose recent tennis seems to have taken a backseat to motherhood, gave what almost amounted to an apology for her Flushing Meadows boilover which left winning opponent Naomi Osaka in tears on the victory platform.
Williams made her “confession” on the Today show in New York, but seemed to blame her new-mother hormones.
““Obviously Grand Slams are most important to me, I was really close last year, so close,” she said.
“Literally just back from having the baby, looking back, I don’t know how I did that,” she added in reference to making the final.
“And I had the audacity to be upset when I didn’t win, and I’m like, ‘Why am I angry? This is beyond amazing.’”
Williams exploded with anger and threats during her straight-set meltdown last September, calling chair umpire Carlos Ramos a “liar” and a “thief” after he penalised her for coaching form the stands.
That initial sanction just fanned the flames, with the Williams temper rising high enough to earn her both point and game penalties before she lost to her Japanese opponent, now the WTA No. 1 who went onto win the Australian Open in January.
In Melbourne in January, Williams lost a 5-2 lead in the third set of a quarter-final against Karolina Pliskova in another disheartening defeat.
The 37-year-old has retired in two of her last four matches, at Indian Wells and Miami and has given no indication of when she might play next.
The Madrid event in May is required for WTA top players, but those rules are frequently flaunted by Williams, a 23-time grand Slam singles champion.
She claimed injury in her Miami pullout two weeks ago.
“I have a better shot now (at a record-levelling 24th Grand Slam title) but we’ll see, I’m just taking it one day at a time,” Williams said.