Serena Williams withdraws from French Open

Serena Williams suddenly ended her latest bid to tie the record for the most Grand Slam singles titles early. She withdrew from the French Open on Wednesday due to an Achilles injury.

“I’m struggling to walk, so that’s kind of a tell-tale sign that I should try to recover,” the tennis player stated during a press conference.

Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam singles champion, injured her Achilles in a U.S. Open semifinal loss to Victoria Azarenka earlier this month. She was set to play Tsvetana Pironkova on Wednesday. But after a “very short” warm up, she and her coach decided it was best to not play.

On Monday, she defeated Kristie Ahn in a 7-6 (2), 6-0 victory.

Williams has been bidding for her 24th major singles trophy for the last few years, which would tie with Margaret Court for most in history. Her next opportunity will be the Australian Open in January.

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She thinks she’ll need to take four to six weeks to recuperate.

“I think Achilles’ is a real injury that you don’t want to play with because that is not good if it gets worse. I think it’s one of the worst. So I don’t want it to get to that point,” she said.

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to play another tournament this year,” she added.

This is Williams’ earliest exit at any Grand Slam tournament since a second-round loss in Paris in 2014 and the second time she has withdrawn from a Grand Slam tournament in her career. Williams withdrew from the 2018 French Open — her first Grand Slam tournament since giving birth to her daughter — prior to her fourth-round match versus Maria Sharapova, citing a pulled muscle in her chest.

Pironkova, who received a wild card into the event, advances to the third round via walkover. She reached the quarterfinals of the US Open, her first tournament in over three years after childbirth, before losing to Williams in three sets.

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