PARIS, France -- Three-time Roland Garros champion Serena Williams was full of praise for her fellow American Sofia Kenin after she was upset in the third round of Roland Garros on Saturday, and added she might look into wild cards into Wimbledon warm-up tournaments as she tries to get back into optimal match fitness.
After Kenin's 6-2, 7-5 victory, the 23-time Grand Slam-winning legend said, across the net, she "just saw a player that was playing unbelievable, and that's it. I didn't see anything else."
"I think she played really well," Williams, who hoisted the trophy in Paris in 2002, 2013, and 2015, stated. "I feel like she, in that first set in particular, she hit pretty much inches from the line, and I haven't played anyone like that in a long time. So, yeah, she actually played really well."
The long-time World No.1 was spurred on by crowd support throughout the match, although Williams said that she "felt like there was a lot of people out there rooting for [Kenin], though. So I feel like it was -- I think there was a ton of people rooting for both of us. I don't feel like it was completely one-sided."
"I think at the end of the day I have to just be true to myself, and I have to be me," Williams stated. "People cheer for what they now know as opposed to what they don't know."
Williams and Paris have rapidly become mutual favorites over the last few years. "I am glad I came," said Williams. "You know, I love the city, and I love the tournament. I really wanted to be here. So I'm glad I came, at the end of the day. It's just been a really grueling season for me."
Regarding that grueling season, Williams is still fighting to work back to top fitness after an ailment-plagued 2019, where she had to pull out prior to matches at both Miami and Rome due to a persistent knee injury.
"I'm just pretty far away [from optimal conditioning], but the optimistic part is I haven't been able to be on the court as much as I would have," Williams stated. "That's okay. At least I can start trying to put the time in now."
Williams said she hopes to get back to top physical form in the month between her loss in Paris and the start of Wimbledon on July 1st. "I'm still working on it and working on getting there. So I think it will be enough time. We'll see, but I definitely hope so."
"I feel like I have had some great runs last year, and, you know, I'm hoping to still build on that this year, and, you know, keep it going," the American continued.
"I'm definitely feeling short on matches, and just getting in the swing of things," Williams added. "I don't really like playing out points when I practice. So I have some time on my hands, so maybe I'll jump in and get a wildcard on one of these grass court events and see what happens."
Nevertheless, Williams enjoyed the adrenaline rush of the match on Saturday, which she "definitely found" during the clash. But, in the end, "I just think that the player I played today, she just played literally unbelievable," Williams admitted. "She really went out there today and did great."