It turns out there’s a pretty good reason why Serena Williams suffered the worst lost of her professional career a couple of weeks ago.
As she told Time in a recent interview that was published on Thursday, Williams found out about ten minutes before her match against Johanna Konta at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic that the man who killed her sister, Yetunde Price, had just been released from prison much sooner than she thought possible.
“I couldn’t shake it out of my mind,” Williams said via ESPN.
The end result that July 31 evening was a crushing 6-1, 6-0 defeat that lasted just 52 minutes.
“I have so many things on my mind. I don’t have time to be shocked about a loss that clearly wasn’t my best right now,” Williams told reporters after the match. “When I was out there, I was fighting. That’s the only thing I can say.”
Williams was stunned by the news that Robert E. Maxfield had been paroled three years sooner than his full sentence would have allowed. She said she caught wind of it while checking Instagram on her phone in a players area before the match. Maxfield was convicted of fatally shooting Price, 31, a mother of three, in 2003.
“It was hard because all I think about is her kids, and what they meant to me. And how much I love them,” Williams said. “No matter what, my sister is not coming back for good behavior. It’s unfair that she’ll never have an opportunity to hug me.”