Serena Williams Forced to Withdraw from 2018 French Open Due to Pectoral Injury
Serena Williams’ victorious stake at the French Open was cut short on Monday when she withdrew from the competition following a pectoral injury. Williams stormed back on the scene with a “Wakanda-inspired catsuit” as she blazed through three rounds of matches. Just before her fourth-round match against Maria Sharapova was to begin, the injury proved to be too great.
“Right now I can’t actually serve,” said Williams, 36, when she announced her withdrawal to an overcrowded interview room at Roland Garros. “It’s kind of hard to play when I can’t physically serve.”
This marks another setback in Williams’ comeback story.
Williams went on to say, “I’m beyond disappointed. You know, I gave up so much, from time with my daughter to time with my family. I put everything on the court, you know. All for this moment. So it’s really difficult to be in this situation, but I always, for now in my life, I just always try to think positive and just think of the bigger picture and hopefully the next events and the rest of the year.”
In a move deemed unusual, Williams decided to forgo the warm-up tournaments prior to the French Open beginning. She arrived ranked 453rd and was unseeded. Not long after the tournament began she got off to a great start. She won three rounds and defeated two seeded players, Ash Barty (ranked No. 17) and Julia Görges (ranked No. 11). These victories set up her match against Sharapova, whom she has played against and defeated 18 consecutive times.
Unfortunately, Williams expressed that she began feeling pain in her pectoral area during her match, and ultimately her victory, against Görges on Saturday.
Williams decided to play in a doubles match with her sister Venus on Sunday night, but as the match went on, she appeared to struggle more and more with her serve. The Williams sisters ended up losing that match after three sets.
“In my doubles yesterday [Sunday], I tried a lot of different tapings, and I tried lots of different types of support to see how it would feel under match circumstance,” Williams said. “It didn’t really get a lot better.”
This marks Williams’ first withdrawal during a Grand Slam tournament due to injury.
“And I have made every sacrifice I could,” Williams said. “But I also 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 played in matches six days in a row starting from Tuesday to Sunday. Her coach, among many others questioned her decision to play doubles and singles.
“I was not at all in favor; it’s been three years now that I’ve been against her playing doubles,” Coach Mouratoglou said in an interview after the surprise withdrawal.
When asked if the amount of matches played a role in the injury, Mouratoglou said, “of course.” He went on to say he hadn’t been informed of her pectoral pain following her match against Görges.
However, Williams insisted on playing more matches to make up for her break from competition saying, “I really felt like I needed to because I’m never going to know how I feel under match play if I didn’t have that match.”
As disappointing as this must be, Williams shared her thoughts online with her many followers saying, “You always live to fight for another chance. I’ve done a lot of fighting and this is just the beginning.”
Needless to say though, her road to recovery and athletic domination has seen its share of setbacks. Serena is prepared to do whatever it takes to get back to where she wants to be.