Beaten Kovinic enjoyed Serena battle: “Her shots were not as crazy as sometimes it seems on TV”

Danka Kovinic was content with how she handled the occasion despite going out in round one to the 23-time Grand Slam champion at the US Open

Danka Kovinic and Serena Williams, US Open 2022 Danka Kovinic and Serena Williams, US Open 2022 | © AI / Reuters / Panoramic

She thought she could win, as she told Tennis Majors before the US Open. And though Danka Kovinic, ranked 80, lost in straight sets against Serena Williams, she was happy to have lived such an experience on Arthur Ashe Stadium Court.

“I expected stronger balls in the rallies”, Kovinic said in a press conference on Monday after her 6-3, 6-3 defeat, a match in which he had her chances.

“I mean, definitely she hits strong. You can see from her returns or some backhand down the lines where I didn’t expect she’s going to make that shot, but it was really clear shot and very strong. Sometimes I found myself standing far way behind baseline. But then in the rallies, as I said, I expected for her to be more aggressive.

“Maybe it’s night session, maybe this court is a little bit slower than the outer ones. I cannot, you know, compare these two. What I had feeling tonight is that you can have good rallies with Serena. It’s not that crazy as sometimes it seems on TV. It’s maybe one opportunity in a lifetime to play against Serena, especially in a night session match on Arthur Ashe, an experience that I only could think of and dream of maybe in my entire career.”

Danka Kovinic and Serena Williams USO 2022

Kovinic: “It was better than I expected”

In the night session, for what could have been Serena Williams‘ last ever match before she retires, Kovinic feared she would be overwhelmed by emotion and unable to compete as she wanted, but it didn’t happen.

“It was better than I expected,” she said. “I mean, the atmosphere on court, I thought that I would be a bit more nervous once I stepped out there. But I didn’t have any kind of these feelings. I was very calm. I was keep telling myself just to enjoy and to take every moment of the match. I kind of have feeling that I played better than the score says. I had great time out there. I really enjoyed it, every second of the match.

“In some moments during the match I couldn’t hear my shots and also hers. Sometimes it’s very tough to see when she hit the ball if it’s going deep or short. That was one thing definitely on the outside courts, we don’t have this experience. Everyone was telling me that this is maybe the loudest court in tennis. It was really loud in some moments, yes. I experienced loss to Ashleigh Barty in Melbourne 6-0, 6-0. I was like, It cannot be worse than that, even against Serena.”

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