23-time Grand Slam champion, Serena Williams has pulled out of the French Open due to injury shortly before she was due to play Maria Sharapova in the fourth round.
Serena says she has a problem with her right pectoral muscle.
“I’ve had issues with the right pectoral muscle to the point where I can’t serve,” said the 36-year-old.
“It’s extremely disappointing,” Williams said during a news conference at Roland Garros. “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.”
“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.”
Serena Williams announces her withdrawal from #RG18 due to a right pectoral injury.
Wishing the three-time champion a speedy recovery. pic.twitter.com/bo3e1jkgcv
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 4, 2018
Williams said she first felt the problem during her third-round win over German 11th seed Julia Gorges on Saturday.
She played in a doubles match with sister Venus on Sunday, saying she wanted to try to manage the problem before her match with Sharapova.
“I tried lots of taping and support to see how it felt in match circumstances,” Williams said.
“It is hard to play when I can’t physically serve. I’ve never had this injury before, I’ve never felt it in my life and it was 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.”
Russia’s Sharapova said she was “looking forward” to playing Williams and “disappointed” the American had to withdraw.
“I wish her a speedy recovery and hope she returns to the tour soon,” she said.
The 31-year-old Russian, will now play either the 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza or Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko in the quarterfinals.