(This story will be updated).
ROLAND GARROS – Serena Williams looked … okay in practice leading up to this year’s Roland Garros, although she was not pushing it that hard.
And she got through her first-round match against countrywoman Kristie Ahn, after a tight first set.
But on Wednesday morning, after what she described as a very brief warmup, she and coach Patrick Mouratoglou weighed the risks and decided to pull out of Roland Garros.
The problem is an “acute” Achilles injury, suffered at the US Open, which hasn’t had enough time to heal.
“It’s my Achilles that didn’t have enough time to properly heal after the Open. I was able to get it somewhat better,” she said in a press conference . I’m struggling to walk. So that’s a telltale sign that I should try to recover.”
Wild card Tsvetana Pironkova, who was to have a rematch with Williams Wednesday (after they met in New York), gets the walkover.
Another blow to 24
The injury and the withdrawal are just another blow to Williams’s quest to get to 24 Grand Slam singles titles, and tie Margaret Court at that seemingly unreachable number.
“I tried, I always give 100 per cent, everyone knows that, maybe even more than 100 per cent. But I think it’s a real injury that you don’t want to play with,” she said. “I think I need 4-6 weeks of sitting and doing nothing – at least two weeks of just sitting down.”
Williams turned 39 the day before the tournament began.
And now, given the time frame she has been given to recover from the injury, there likely won’t be any more tennis this year.
(There isn’t much for the women to play after Roland Garros anyway, although there have been rumours that the WTA Tour is accepting bids to relocate the allegedly cancelled WTA Tour Finals in Shenzhen, China somewhere else this year).
But it’s a tough one.
Williams lost in the third round of the Australian Open to Qiang Wang of China, after winning a warmup tournament in Adelaide.
Wimbledon, of course, was not held this season.
In New York, Williams got to the semifinals, but ran into a red-hot Victoria Azarenka and bowed out in the semifinals.