It seems that we’ll have to wait a little longer to see Serena Williams dominate on the tennis courts once more. The superstar called off her grand-slam comeback and pulled out of the French Open on Monday because of a pectoral injury shortly before she was due to face archnemesis Maria Sharapova in a highly anticipated match.
“It’s extremely disappointing,” Williams said during a news conference, ESPN reports. “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.”
According to the report, Williams is unable to hit serves because of issues with her right chest muscle. The tennis star explained that she will have to get an MRI and speak with doctors before deciding on her next move.
“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,” Williams said, “and try to get better and not get it to a point where it could be a lot worse.”
The 36-year-old has been on a mission for her tennis comeback a mere nine months since she almost lost her life after giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia.
But on Saturday, during her third-round singles victory over Germany’s Julia Goerges, Williams said that her chest began to hurt.
“It was really painful,” Williams said, “and I didn’t know what it was.”
Despite the pain, Williams played in the doubles alongside her sister Venus on Sunday. The sisters lost and were eliminated from the doubles tournament. The star athlete said that she tried to tape the muscle to limit her pain, but nothing worked enough that she felt like she could or should continue her singles matches.
Her withdrawal has now reshaped the competition, with Sharapova, who has won the French Open twice, moving automatically into the quarterfinals.
Williams addressed her exit in an Instagram post Monday morning, thanking her fans for their support and noting in the caption: “You always live to fight for another chance. I’ve done a lot of fighting and this is just the beginning. Thank you a for the support. I love you.”
Regardless of fans’ collective disappointment, we hope Queen Serena can take care of herself and heal well. We look forward to her crushing the competition again sometime very soon.