American tennis great Serena Williams pulled out of her French Open Round-of-16 clash on Monday due to injury, sending Russian Maria Sharapova into the quarter-finals.
Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion, said at a press conference that the muscle pain began during her straight-set win over Germany’s Julia Georges in the previous round and that she was planning to undergo a MRI scan on Tuesday,” reports Efe.
“I’ve unfortunately been having some issues with my pectoral muscle,” Williams said. “Right now I can’t actually serve, so it’s kind of hard to play when I can’t physically serve.”
“It’s very difficult because I love playing Maria (Sharapova). It’s a match I always get up for. It’s extremely disappointing but I made a promise to myself that if I’m not at least 50 percent, I shouldn’t play,” she added.
The French Open was only the third tournament appearance for Williams, 36, since claiming the 2017 Australian Open title, as she had been on maternity leave for the birth of her daughter in Sept.
“I’m beyond disappointed. I gave up so much from time with my daughter and time with my family, all for this moment. So it’s really difficult to be in this situation,” she admitted.
Williams said she had unsuccessfully tried different solutions during her women’s doubles third round defeat on Sunday, when she and her elder sister Venus 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-0 lost to Spain’s Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez and Slovenia’s Andreja Klepac.
Next up for Sharapova, a two-time French Open champion, is either Spain’s Garbiñe Muguruza, the third seed, or Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine.