Serena Williams’ coach has blamed her U.S. Open loss squarely on her injured left knee.
Patrick Mouratoglou said after the straight-set semifinal upset by Karolina Pliskova on Thursday: “It’s impossible to compete without moving. That’s why she missed so much, so many unforced errors, was because she was so slow.”
Williams said later that the injury’s effect was more mental than physical. But Mouratoglou insisted that if Williams had been “20 percent less injured, she would have won in two sets.”
Player and coach also differed on when Williams was initially hurt: He said it was a new injury that occurred late in her quarterfinal, while she said it first bothered her earlier in the tournament.
According to Mouratoglou, Williams received treatment all day and scrapped most of her warm-up. He says: “With the adrenaline of the match, we never know. But since the start it was terrible.”
He added: “At the end she tried to go for the winner on every shot. Even if she wins the second, it’s not the point. She’s not going to win the third.”