23-times Grand slam Champion Serena Williams has withdrawn from the French Open with an Achilles injury ahead of her second-round clash against Tsvetana Pironkova. Williams, 39 was looking to clinch a record-equaling 24th grand slam title on Parisian clay after ending his US open run as semifinalist earlier this month where she was beaten by Victoria Azarenka. She said the injury was sustained in New York and had not recover properly before coming to Roland Garros.
“I was able to get it somewhat better but just looking long-term at this tournament — ‘will I be able to get through enough matches?’ — and so for me I don’t think I could and struggling to walk so that’s kind of a telltale sign that I should try to recover,” she told reporters Wednesday. Williams had recorded a win in the R-128 game versus Kristie Ahn where she bagged 7-6, 6-0 victory.
Her withdrawal from the prestigious clay tourney means Pironkova who was humbled Williams in US Open quarters, would get a walkover to the third round.
“Definitely in the second set (of the first-round match) I felt like I needed to walk with a limp and that was no good,” said Williams, who has conquered Paris three times.
“I had to focus on walking straight so I wasn’t limping. I tried — I always give 100% and everyone knows that — maybe even more than 100% if that’s possible.
“I take solace in that. 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.”
The tournament was due to start earlier in May but was suspended until September because of the COVID-19 that ravaged Europe and other parts of the world. The deadly disease prompted Wimbledon that comes after the Roland Garros to announce cancellation. Williams will next get a chance to equal Margaret Courts’ coveted tally of 24 majors at Australian Open in ensuing year in January.