Serena Williams' shock Wimbledon defeat may have had its roots in her losing her "intimidation factor", believes Mats Wilander.
On her comeback from injury after a year out, Williams succumbed in three sets to world No. 113 Harmony Tan of France, whose varied style caused the American problems throughout on Centre Court.
It was a surprise to see Tan play so well on the kind of stage she has so rarely frequented in her career to date - especially against a legend of the game - but Wilander thinks Williams' scarce appearances in recent years may have dimmed her status to the younger generation.
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"The intimidation factor I don't think is there anymore," Wilander said.
"It used to be, but I don't think these younger players are that intimidated anymore by her [Williams] because they haven't seen her win as much.
"And I actually think Tan was a nightmare opponent for Serena. I think she [Williams] would have much rather played somebody who hits the ball harder, and maybe makes a few more mistakes because Tan doesn't make too many mistakes. She had a perfect game plan, so she must have talked about that with [coach and former Wimbledon finalist] Nathalie Tauziat.
"What an unbelievable tennis match for someone that young [24].
"I think maybe Serena needs a few more matches. It looked like when it got close in the end the confidence was maybe not there. I'm not saying that she got nervous necessarily, but if you haven't played more matches, you can't really trust yourself. She hit a couple of drop shots on very big points and she must probably think 'why, what did I do that for?'
"In the end, Tan had a very good game to play against Serena Williams because she has good hands and she made Serena move, but Serena looked really good. She just maybe lacked a bit in confidence."
Kim Clijsters, analysing the match for Eurosport alongside Wilander, believes Williams has some vital choices to make as she looks ahead to possible hard-court events in America, culminating in the US Open in August and September.
"It's going to take her a little while to get over a loss where she came so close," Clijsters said.
"Now it's back to thinking 'Do I want to start at the US Open? Do I want to play a couple more tournaments in singles?'
"She will talk to her coach and see where she can improve, and where she can get some more matches before she [potentially] plays another Grand Slam in a couple of months."
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Watch daily highlights from Wimbledon at 10pm on Eurosport 2 and discovery+ from June 27, as well as the two singles finals live on July 9 and 10.
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