Naomi defeated the 39-year-old tennis legend 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinals of the annual tournament that took place in Melbourne on Thursday, Feb. 18. Following the match, Serena took part in a press conference but cut the questions short after getting emotional during one of her responses.
In footage from the press event that can be seen below, the moderator said, "Last couple questions in the room, please." He then called on a reporter who asked about the star's "unforced errors through the match" and whether it was "just one of those bad days at the office."
Serena started to tear up and responded, "Uh, I don't know." She then added, "I'm done," as she got up from her seat and walked out of the room, ending the conference.
Earlier in the question-and-answer session, Serena had been in good spirits while responding to a reporter who asked about the end of the match. After her loss, the tennis great left the court to a standing ovation and placed her hand over heart.
"The Aussie crowd is so amazing, so it was nice to see," Serena said. When the reporter asked in a follow-up question whether this could be perceived as a goodbye to the crowd, the tennis player replied, "I don't know. If I ever say farewell, I wouldn't tell anyone." The athlete then chuckled.
Shortly after the press conference, Serena took to Instagram to share a photo of her arms outstretched, along with a message thanking fans for their continued support, despite the undesired result.
"Melbourne and my Australian fans- Today was not ideal outcome or performance but it happens," she wrote. "I am so honored to be able to play in front of you all. Your support -your cheers, I only wish I could have done better for you today. I am forever in debt and grateful to each and everyone single one of you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I adore you."
Naomi, 23, praised her opponent after their match. "I don't know if there's any little kids out here today, but I was a little kid watching her play," Naomi said, according to the Associated Press, "and just to be on the court playing against her, for me, is a dream."
The painful loss leaves Serena still just one Grand Slam singles title shy of tying Margaret Court's record-holding 24. Her previous Grand Slam title came when she won the Australian Open in 2017.
This semifinal was a rematch of the controversial 2018 US Open Women's Singles final, in which Serena lost after criticizing an umpire over a call she perceived as questionable.