Serena Williams reveals the heartbreaking truth behind her career-worst loss

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Susan Devaney
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Serena Williams has revealed that she learned her sister’s killer had been released from prison just before she walked on court. 

Serena Williams has a bevy of awards, historic feats and accomplishments to her name. But she knows that life’s invaluable treasures are family and friends.

Which is why Williams has shared the heartbreaking reason behind her worst career loss earlier this month to fellow player Johanna Konta in San Jose: she’d just learned her sister’s killer had been released from prison 10 minutes before she walked on court.

In an interview with Time, Williams said she learned of the news while scrolling through Instagram before she walked on court.

“I couldn’t shake it out of my mind,” Williams told Time of the release of Robert Maxfield, a former Southside Crips member who was freed on parole three years early due to good behaviour. “It was hard because all I think about is her [three children] … and what they meant to me. And how much I love them.”

Williams continued: “No matter what, my sister is not coming back for good behaviour.”

After the match, Williams did not mention Maxfield, though she did reveal that her focus was compromised.

“I have so many things on my mind, I don’t have time to be shocked about a loss,” Williams said at the time. “I clearly wasn’t at my best. I can only try to be there.

When I was out there, I was fighting. I wasn’t just giving it away. I was moving a lot better – I’m just trying to take the positives.”

Williams’ sister, Yetunde Price was just 31 years old when Maxfield shot her on 14 September 2003 while she was driving in Compton with her boyfriend. Maxfield was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2006.

When asked if she has forgiven Maxfield, she continued: “I’m not there yet. I would like to practice what I preach, and teach Olympia that as well. I want to forgive. I have to get there. I’ll be there.”

Images: Getty / Instagram