Just before the most lopsided defeat of her career, Serena Williams suffered a devastating off-court blow.
Williams revealed to Time, in an interview for a feature published Thursday, that she learned about 10 minutes before her match against Johanna Konta at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic that the man who killed her sister Yetunde Price had been paroled.
“I couldn’t shake it out of my mind,” Williams told Time.
Williams lost 6-1, 6-0 to Konta in 52 minutes in that July 31 match.
“I have so many things on my mind; I don’t have time to be shocked about a loss that clearly wasn’t at my best right now,” Williams said in the immediate aftermath. “When I was out there, was fighting. That’s the only thing I can say.”
Williams revealed to Time that she learned Robert E. Maxfield had been paroled three years short of his full sentence earlier in the year while checking Instagram on her phone in a players area before the match. Maxfield was convicted of fatally shooting Price, 31, a mother of three, in 2003.
“It was hard because all I think about is her kids,” Williams told Time, “and what they meant to me. And how much I love them.”
“No matter what, my sister is not coming back for good behavior,” Williams continued. “It’s unfair that she’ll never have an opportunity to hug me.”
Williams also talked about forgiveness but said, “I’m not there yet. I would like to practice what I preach, and teach [daughter] Olympia that as well. I want to forgive. I have to get there. I’ll be there.”
Williams also spoke more to Time about motherhood and the struggles she has faced in her comeback following the birth of her daughter last September, after an emotional Instagram post last week in which she said she was “in a funk” because she felt like she was not a good mom.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.