Below is a video of Serena Williams’s face before the last set of her match against Virginie Razzano. As Razzano stepped off the court for a bathroom break, the cameras focused in on Williams, who covered her face with a towel in an apparent attempt at privacy before thousands of fans and international media.
From the looks of it, Williams is barely crying. A wrinkled, distressed look on her face? Sure. But I didn’t catch any tears.
Yahoo! Sports covered the match, calling it “one of the biggest upsets in tennis history.” Yet the article came with the headline: “Serena Williams cried during dramatic upset loss at French Open (VIDEO).” SB Nation also fixated on her sorrow, reporting she “was caught crying into a tissue on the court.”
Williams kept it together pretty impressively under an epic level of scrutiny. When Razzano stepped into the bathroom, Williams bravely stayed out on the court. Imagine sitting alone in a stadium of thousands of people, knowing you were on the losing end of “one of the biggest upsets in tennis history.” Even if she had let out a real cry, it would have been understandable. Athletes, both male and female, cry on the court or field all the time. Sports reporters generally agree at this point that it’s hardly a big deal.
Williams’ loss was a big deal, and certainly worthy of headlines, as it marked the first time she’s lost in the opening round of a grand slam event. What was less worthy of headlines was how she almost, sort of, maybe cried.