SERENA Williams crashed out of the Miami Open in the first round on Wednesday after falling to Indian Wells champion Naomi Osaka in straight sets.
The American reportedly then left the tournament site before her scheduled post-match press conference.
It is the first time Williams, 36, has lost her first match at an American hard court championship for 21 years.
The Japanese world No. 22 was superior throughout as she won 6-3, 6-2 while Williams struggled in only her second tournament appearance – and fourth match – since returning from 13 months maternity leave.
The result comes just days after tournament director James Blake slammed the WTA for effectively punishing Williams for her pregnancy.
“I think they are going to start talking about changing the way some seedings are done and I hope they do,” Blake told AFP.
“For someone who goes on maternity break, they should be protected. These kind of things shouldn’t happen. She has won this title so many times that she needs protection.
“It’s not as if she left because of injury and lost her passion for the game. She had a kid which we should all be celebrating so when she comes back there should be a grace period where she can still be seeded.
“It’s a kind of punishment which is tough. I hope they revisit those talks although it will be too late for her unless she decides to have another child.”