Like her close contemporary Roger Federer, it seemed that Serena Williams found her same-day exit from the French Open reasonably tolerable.
Both 39, the pair have Wimbledon on their mind, and the American was unusually phlegmatic after following him out of the tournament in a more conventional way.
Williams was beaten in the fourth round 6-3, 7-5 by Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina, 18 years her junior and one of the many talented players from the former Soviet Union who have flooded the tour over her long career.
Serena Williams suffered a shock defeat as she was beaten 6-3 7-5 by Elena Rybakina
The eighth seed tried to rouse herself in the second set, but there almost seemed to be an acceptance of her fate at a tournament she did not have high expectations of winning.
While Federer will play next week, Williams has no plans to add a UK grass court tournament to her schedule, feeling that she had made progress since coming to Europe.
‘I’m in a much better place than when I got here,’ she said. ‘I was just literally trying to win a match, because it had been a really difficult season for me on the clay, that’s where I was.
Rybakina managed to prevail in the fourth round of the French Open with a determined display
‘I think I would have just played harder and played better today. I hate regretting, but I definitely would have just tried to do that.’
Williams played down talk that this may have been her last match at Roland Garros, but admitted she was looking forward to the coming weeks.
‘I’m kind of excited to switch surfaces, historically I have played well on grass. There is literally a point here or there, that could change the whole course of the match. I’m not winning those points.’ The opening up of the draw invited thoughts that this might be the unlikely venue for a 24th Grand Slam title which will now have to wait, perhaps indefinitely.
Williams stayed in touch with Rybakina in the second set but was vulnerable at times