Three-time champion Serena Williams has withdrawn from the French Open because of an Achilles injury. The 39-year-old had been scheduled to play her second-round match against Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova on Wednesday.
The American has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles and was aiming to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24. “I think I need four to six weeks of sitting and doing nothing,” Williams told a news conference. “I have been struggling to walk so that’s a telltale sign that I should try to recover. “Achilles is an injury you don’t want to play with – I think it was one of the worst, don’t want to get to that point, I want it to get better.”
Williams picked up the Achilles problem during her US Open semi-final defeat by Victoria Azarenka earlier this month. On Monday, she beat fellow American Kristie Ahn 7-6 (7-2) 6-0 in the first round at Roland Garros, but said she was struggling physically.
“In the second set I felt I needed to walk with a limp,” Williams added. “I had to focus on walking straight so I wasn’t limping. I tried and always give 100%, I take solace in that.