Nine months after a violent explosion of temper in the US Open final which got her defaulted, loose cannon Serena Williams has again bared her fangs.
ATP No. 4 Dominic Thiem was on the receiving end at the French Open, ejected from his own media conference to make space for hers at the weekend.
Williams was already fuming after going down 6-2, 7-5 in a heap of 34 unforced errors in the third round against teenaged American Sonia Kenin – her worst loss at a major in half a decade.
Wither her temperature rising after yet another failure on the big stage, Williams reportedly just could not stand to wait her turn and face the media as a loser.
French TV reporting that she more or less demanded that the 2018 men’s runner-up be sent to a secondary space.
Intimidated WTA and tournament officials jumped to attention. entering the press conference room and interrupting Thiem in mid-sentence.
The Austrian was far from pleased at the outrageous breach of protocol, but grudgingly moved venues, taking the trailing media with him. He then did not answer any more questions.
The order on behalf of the self-styled “queen” of the court – who won her last Grand Slam in 2017 and who has skipped six major in the interim – does no favours for the ugly reputation which is growing around Williams as she lives out the final stage of her career.
“I don’t really get it, seriously. I mean, what the hell? No, but it’s a joke, really…I have to leave the room because she’s coming?” Thiem said.
“I leave also then. I’m not standing around. I can also do what I want.”
Thiem was speaking after reaching the fourth round 6-3 4-6 6-2 7-5 win over Pablo Cuevas.
Once settled into her hijacked spot in the main media room of a temporary underground centre at Roland Garros, Williams launched into a defence her poor play.
After competing in only five events this season, the 37-year-old gave onoy a few clues as to her future plans regarding the upcoming grass season.
Williams has pulled out of three matches since March and competed just five times on clay to stand 3-2 on the surface.
“I’m definitely feeling short on matches, and just getting in the swing of things,” she said.
“I have some time on my hands, so maybe I’ll jump in and get a wildcard on one of these grass court events and see what happens.”
The America veteran, who played just one clay court match in Rome before suffering a knee injury in the run up to the French Open, said she had expected to progress further in Paris.
“I would have expected to have gotten past the the third round. If someone said I would only get this far, I’d have said they were a liar.
“I haven’t been on the court as much as I would have wanted to. It’s been a gruelling season.”
Kenin, the 20-year-old world number 35, will now face eighth seed Ash Barty for a place in the quarter-finals. Barty was too good for Andrea Petkovic in their third round clash.
The Aussie booked her spot in the next round with a dominant straight sets win over Germany’s Andrea Petkovic.
Williams, who has still to add to her majors collection since she returned to the tour after giving birth to her daughter, fired 30 winners and 34 unforced errors.
Osaka, the reigning US and Australian Open champion, said losing to 42nd-ranked Siniakova may have been a blessing in disguise.
“Losing is probably the best thing that could have happened,” said 21-year-old Osaka.
“I felt very tired. I had headaches, maybe that’s the stress.
“I felt there was a weight on me. This hasn’t been the happiest of times.”
Osaka was undone by a shocking 38 unforced errors as she finally ran out of luck in Paris having had to come back from a set down in her first two matches.