Paris, 30 September 2020 (dpa/MIA) — Serena Williams will not continue her campaign for a 24th major title after the American veteran pulled out of her second round match at the French Open with an Achilles injury on Wednesday.
Williams, 39, was due to play Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova on Court Philippe Chatrier but organizers confirmed Pironkova advanced to round three via a walkover.
The three-time French Open winner Williams has been struggling with the injury since the US Open, where she lost in the semi-finals to Victoria Azarenka.
“(I’m) struggling to walk so that’s a tell-tale sign that I should try to recover,” Williams told a video news conference.
“This is not a nagging injury. This is an acute injury.
“If it was my knee, that would be more devastating for me but this is something that just happened and it’s super acute. For lack of a better word, I just ran into bad timing and bad luck in New York.”
Williams said that she did try to contemplate playing with the injury but decided it was not worth the risk at this late stage of her career.
“I really wanted to give an effort here,” said the 23-time champion, who is one title away from equaling Australian Margaret Court’s record trophy haul,” she said.
“I was able to get it somewhat better but just looking at this tournament, I was thinking will I be able to get through enough matches. I don’t think I could.
“I always give 100 percent and everyone knows that. I think Achilles is a real injury you don’t want to play with because that is not good if it gets worse. I don’t want it to get to that point.”
Williams beat compatriot Kristie Ahn in the first round in Paris on Monday but now has to wait at least until next year in her long bid to get a record-equalling 24th title at the majors.
The veteran has not won a grand slam since the 2017 Australian Open when she was pregnant. She reached four finals after her maternity break but lost them all, twice each at Wimbledon and the US Open.