Serena Williams suffered the most lopsided loss of her career last month in the opening round of the Silicon Valley Classic, when Johanna Konta defeated her 6-1, 6-0 in less than an hour. It was the first time in Williams’s career that she hadn’t won at least two games in a match.
In a cover story for Time magazine that focuses mostly on Williams’s adjustment to motherhood, she also opens up about that match. Just 10 minutes before playing, Williams says, she discovered while looking at Instagram that the man who shot and killed her half-sister Yetunde Price in 2003 had been released from prison on parole earlier this year. Robert Maxfield received a 15-year sentence in April 2006, and Williams was in the courtroom. From Time:
“I couldn’t shake it out of my mind,” Serena says. She laughs, which she sometimes does during uncomfortable moments. Price had three children, who were 11, 9, and 5 at the time of the their mother’s death. “It was hard because all I think about is her kids,” she says, “and what they meant to me. And how much I love them.”
She takes a deep breath. “No matter what, my sister is not coming back for good behavior,” she says. “It’s unfair that she’ll never have an opportunity to hug me. But also …” she pauses, the thought hanging in the air. “The Bible talks about forgiveness.” Does she forgive the killer? “I’m not there yet,” she says. “I would like to practice what I preach, and teach Olympia that as well. I want to forgive. I have to get there. I’ll be there.”
Williams went on to withdraw from last week’s Rogers Cup due to “personal reasons,” then lost in the second round at the Cincinnati Open on Tuesday. Her next scheduled tournament is the U.S. Open, beginning in late August.