Almost two hours after shedding tears of disappointment on the tennis court, Naomi Osaka made a room of more than 40 people laugh.
Asked during her media conference yesterday if she felt relieved that her season was over, the Japanese replied: "I'm sad I won't be able to see you guys."
Her breakthrough season, which saw her win her first Grand Slam title at the US Open, ended with a left hamstring injury that forced her to retire after she lost the first set 6-3 to Kiki Bertens at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
Dutchwoman Bertens and American Sloane Stephens qualified for today's semi-finals, joining Ukrainian Elina Svitolina and Czech Karolina Pliskova.
Osaka, who played with her left thigh taped yesterday, took a medical timeout while down 5-3 and left the court for treatment.
The 21-year-old was in tears as she made the decision to retire after the first set.
Acknowledging fans with a nod and a wave, she was cheered and applauded by the crowd at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. She later told media she had hurt her left hamstring during her first match - a three-set loss to 2017 US Open champion Stephens - and that it got worse in her next two matches.
ORDER OF PLAY
NOT BEFORE 4PM
S-final: Kiki Bertens (Ned) v Elina Svitolina (Ukr)
NOT BEFORE 7.30PM
S-final: Sloane Stephens (USA) v Karolina Pliskova (Cze)
"There is this level of pain that I can play with, so I was definitely going to play," she said, adding that the pain became worse at 2-2 and she could not move.
"So I started trying to hit (winners) and then that wasn't working. Then I just felt like it was kind of pointless. I was just hurting myself more than helping."
Still, the world No. 4 managed a few smiles as she reflected on a "crazy year" in which she won the first two titles of her WTA career.
"For me, it's just been a lot of new experiences - I'm very grateful that I was able to have the opportunities that I had," said Osaka, who won the Indian Wells Masters in March.
"I feel like I have matured... At the beginning of the year, I was very uncertain with what I was doing. But now I feel a bit more calm."
Bertens, who beat Angelique Kerber and lost to Stephens in her earlier Red Group matches, said: "I think it was a solid match from the beginning for both of us. Unfortunately she had to retire.
"It's never easy or nice to win a match like this, but it is what it is. I'll take it and I have some more recovery time for tomorrow."
The world No. 9 finished second in the Red Group as sixth-ranked Stephens topped the group after beating world No. 2 Kerber 6-3, 6-3 in the second match last night.
The American said: "I thought I stayed solid the whole time.
"I knew it was going to be a battle obviously, with a lot on the line. Angie is an amazing player. She's one of the best girls on Tour and one of the nicest players.
"So I knew it was going to be a battle and I just came out and played as hard as I could. I'm just really pleased to be through with the win."
S-finals: 1.30pm & 7.30pm