Serena Williams: Early Aussie Open Defeat Doesn't Signal Changing of Guard

Pete Schauer@@Pete_SchauerCorrespondent IJanuary 24, 2013

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 23:  Serena Williams of the United States of America looks on during a press conference after losing her Quarterfinal match against Sloane Stephens of the United States of America during day ten of the 2013 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 23, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)
Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images

If you're thinking that Serena Williams' early exit from the 2013 Australian Open is a sign that the 31-year-old is no longer at the top of the women's tennis game, you're sorely mistaken.

Williams was ousted from the quarterfinals of the Aussie Open on Tuesday by 19-year-old American Sloane Stephens, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.

While Stephens' feat over the woman she grew up admiring was definitely a match for the ages and an amazing accomplishment, it doesn't mean that there's a changing of the guard in women's tennis.

According to Fox News, Williams injured her ankle in her first match at the Aussie Open and tweaked it again during the loss to Stephens.

On top of that, Williams hurt her back during her match with Stephens while approaching the net (h/t Fox News).

"I was running to the net for a drop shot. As I went to hit it, it was on the backhand. I even screamed on the court. I totally locked up after that."

Not to take away from what the 19-year-old youngster accomplished over Williams, but one has to think Williams would have controlled this match were it not for injuries to her ankle and back.

Owning 30 Grand Slam titles, Williams is no stranger to success in Melbourne, boasting five Aussie Open titles.

As for Williams losing a step or being replaced in her sport, she already addressed that issue following the loss to Stephens.

With plenty of time to prepare, Williams should be healthy and back to form at the French Open, a tournament she won back in 2002.

The competition may be stiffer—with the likes of Stephens emerging as a contender, possibly for years to come—but Serena Williams shouldn't be counted out until the day she retires.

Retires from the game, not from a match, that is.


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