Just after returning to the courts for her first major, Serena Williams has to withdraw from her upcoming June 4 match with Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova in the fourth round.
Williams pulled out of the tennis match due to a pectoral muscle injury, a pain she said she felt against Julia Goerges Saturday (June 2), The Washington Post reports. Despite her win, as Williams approached the final round, it appeared increasingly difficult for her, although spectators and fans continued to cheer her on.
“I, unfortunately, have been having some issues with my pec muscle, and unfortunately it’s been getting worse to the point where right now I can’t actually serve,” Williams said at Roland Garros in Paris.
A visibly distraught Williams talked about having sacrificed time with her family to train and play. “I’m beyond disappointed,” she said. “But, also, I made a promise to myself and to my coach and to my team that if I’m not at least 60 percent or 50 percent, then I probably shouldn’t play.”
Williams' withdraw is just another similarity she shares with Sharapova. While Williams was on maternity leave, Sharapova recovered from an arm injury and a hiatus brought on by the discovery of meldonium in her system. For what would've been their 22nd match, Williams shared she enjoys playing against Sharapova, with whom she has a record of 19-2. The order of the games is now taking on a new direction because of Williams' withdraw. Her opponent will advance to the quarterfinals.
“The fact that I physically can’t serve at all is a good indication that maybe I should just go back to the drawing board and stay positive, and try to get better and not get it to a point where it could be a lot worse,” Williams said. Williams had been training nonstop after the tumultuous but fortunate birth of her daughter Alexis Olympia.