It felt like I had concrete blocks on my feet - Serena talks French Open nerves
Serena Williams said she felt like she was playing with "concrete blocks on my feet" in her Roland Garros opener, while admitting she considered withdrawing from the French Open before the tournament started.
The three-time champion was out of sorts in the first set of her round-one tie against Vitalia Diatchenko.
But Williams regained her composure to record an ultimately comfortable 2-6 6-1 6-0 victory over her Russian opponent.
Speaking on court after the win, Williams opened up about struggling with nerves, a theme she elaborated on in a post-match news conference.
"It was weird. I have been dealing with a lot and then I just got nervous out there and I stopped moving my feet," she said.
"And I was, like, [feeling as though I had] concrete blocks on my feet. I was like, 'You gotta do something'. But compared to other matches, I'm always a little nervous in grand slams, especially in the first round.
"Allez, courage Serena"— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) May 27, 2019
Elle nous a fait peur, mais elle est sortie victorieuse de son match de premier tour face à Vitalia Diatchenko. @serenawilliams a mis la vitesse supérieure après le premier set pour l'emporter 2-6, 6-1, 6-0. #RG19 pic.twitter.com/i9R0jDrFyr
"I was just making so many errors. Every shot I hit, I felt like I was hitting on my frame. I usually don't hit balls on my frame. I was just off, basically.
"And then instead of correcting it, I just kept getting worse to be honest. I knew it couldn't get worse and I knew I could only go up. That's what I told myself. I just gotta keep positive.
"It was just a strange start to that match for me."
The 23-time grand slam winner has struggled with injuries this season and a knee problem saw her withdraw from the recent Internazionali d'Italia.
Asked if she had thought about skipping the French Open to prepare for Wimbledon, she replied: "It crossed my mind every day, but I'm here. And [I'm here] to do the best that I can do."