Serena Williams has withdrawn from the French Open shortly before she was due on Philippe Chatrier Court to face Maria Sharapova in a much-anticipated fourth round showdown.
The 36-year-old 23-time grand slam champion, playing in her first slam since the 2017 Australian Open after maternity leave, told a news conference in Paris she had a pectoral muscle injury.
“Unfortunately I’m having some issues with my pec muscle. Right now I can’t actually serve so it’s kind of hard to play,” she said.
Williams also revealed that she will have an MRI scan on Tuesday and was non-committal on her Wimbledon prospects.
“It’s very difficult,” Williams added. “I love playing Maria. I’ve made every sacrifice I could. I made a commitment to myself and my team that if I wasn’t at least 60% I wouldn’t play. I’ve never felt this in my life. It’s so painful.
“I’m beyond disappointed. I gave up so much from time with my daughter & time with my family all for this moment. So it’s really difficult to be in this situation.”
Williams revealed she played in the women’s doubles with sister Venus on Sunday to test the injury” “I thought [doubles] was a perfect opportunity to see how I was going. I tried a lot of different tapings and support. It didn’t get a lot better.”
Sharapova will now play either Garbiñe Muguruza or Lesia Tsurenko in the quarter-finals.