Serena Williams comforted her tearful teen opponent, Dayana Yastremska, who was visually emotional over her loss to the 23-time grand slam champion at the Australian Open on Saturday.
The 18-year-old from Ukraine wiped away tears as she walked to the net following the match, and Williams put her right hand on Yastremska’s shoulder and consoled her by saying, “You’re so young. You did amazing. Don’t cry.” Yahoo reports that they then embraced and Williams patted the young tennis star on the back.
“I could tell she was quite upset. I kind of liked that. It shows she wasn’t just there to play a good match — she was there to win. She wanted to win. That really broke my heart,” Williams said. “I think she’s a good talent. It’s good to see that attitude.”
Williams defeated Yastremska in a 6-2, 6-1 victory on Saturday.
“I thought she played amazing, came out swinging. I felt like she came out ready to go,” the former world No. 1 added.
When asked if she has ever experienced a similar reaction when playing a match in her teens, Williams said she did as a young player and as an adult.
“Absolutely,” she said. “You go out there and you want to win. I remember one time in particular against Venus at Wimbledon, as I was walking to the net, I started bawling. I couldn’t help it.”
Williams admits that her sister “still intimidates me.”
She also noted that when she was younger, “I played against Lindsay Davenport, Martina Hingis, Monica Seles. Everyone I faced was in the ‘hall of fame’. Every match was intimidating, but you go out and do the best you can.
Meanwhile, Yastremska found more comfort in the tennis champ’s encouraging words when she complimented her in the locker room after their match.
“She said, like, ‘You’re young, you’re very good and you will be a good player in the future.’ It’s nice to hear those words from a legend,” said the 57th-ranked Yastremska. “If she thinks so, then maybe that’s true.”
Williams next faces No. 1 Simona Halep, who beat Venus Williams 6-2, 6-3 in a later match Saturday.