Serena Williams hopes relaxed expectations of her year ahead can be a small consolation from her Australian Open final loss.
Williams was defeated by Angelique Kerber in a classic final at Melbourne Park on Saturday night.
The dominant world No.1 hadn’t dropped a set on her way to the final but was unearthed in three sets by the unfancied German.
For Williams, it was proof positive that expectations of her after a brilliant 2015 were out of hand.
“Everyone expects me to win every single match, every single day of my life,” she said.
“As much as I would like to be a robot, I’m not.
“I did the best I could today.
“Would I give myself an A? No.
“Maybe tomorrow I could produce something different.”
Williams quickly showed at Melbourne Park that a four-month break hadn’t diminished her outstanding ability to dominate opponents.
The 34-year-old was untroubled in six matches until the final, which included straight-sets wins over top-five players Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska.
When she resumes on the WTA tour next month, Williams’ closest rival will be her new foe.
Kerber, who will become the new world No.2 when the new WTA rankings are released next week, is now very much on Williams’ radar.
“She’s had a great month, she got to the finals in Brisbane. She won here.
“I was surprised and really happy for her.
“What’s after 2 is 1, so I guess I better be careful.”
Not that there’s bad blood between the two.
Williams was a most courteous loser and was congratulated by the Rod Laver Arena crowd for her sporting comments.
“She had an attitude that I think a lot of people can learn from: just to always stay positive and to never give up,” Williams said.
“I was really inspired by that.
“If I couldn’t win, I’m happy she did.”