Serena Williams forced to pull out of French Open with arm injury

Supermom Serena’s comeback comes to an abrupt end: Williams forced to pull out of her first Grand Slam with arm injury at French Open where she wowed fans in catsuit and vowed to be a role model to new moms

  • Serena Williams left it late to pull out of her match against Maria Sharapova
  • It is the first time Williams has ever pulled out of a Grand Slam tournament 
  • Sharapova has only beat Williams twice and has not won against her since 2004 
  • Williams made the decision before heading onto the court on Monday afternoon 
  • She has withdrawn mid-tournament 15 times before – but never in a Grand Slam

Serena Williams has pulled out of the French Open, marking a disappointing end to days of hype surrounding her match-up with Maria Sharapova. 

After beating the Russian tennis player in every match since 2004, Williams revealed she could not play on Monday due to an arm injury.

It is the first time Williams, who lost the doubles on Sunday, has ever pulled out of a Grand Slam.    

Serena Williams has pulled out of her French Open showdown with Russian Maria Sharapova

The American former world No 1 was forced into the late decision due to a niggling arm injury

Williams, 36, suffered an injury to her right pectoral muscle during her third-round match against Julia Görges on Saturday. 

The tennis superstar, who earlier said Sharapova was the ‘favorite’ to win their match, said she cannot serve and was ‘beyond disappointed’ to be leaving the tournament. 

‘It’s very difficult because I love playing Maria,’ Williams said during a press conference. 

‘It’s a match I always get up for. Her game matches up so well against mine.’ 

Williams also revealed she had not suffered from the pectoral injury before and was scheduled for an MRI on Tuesday. 

‘I’ve never felt this in my life so I don’t really know how to manage it yet,’ she said. ‘This is a little different…I’m clueless as to what to do.’   

Despite her fine record against the Russian, Williams – who was playing in only her third tournament since giving birth – felt unable to put her body through the rigors of clay-court tennis ahead of the imminent grass-court season. 

Williams made the decision during the fourth set of Rafael Nadal and Maximillian Marterer and swiftly organised a press conference to explain her reasoning. 

She now turns her attention to returning to fitness in time for Wimbledon, having been knocked out in the third round of the doubles on Sunday night.

Sharapova has not beaten Williams since Wimbledon 2004 but progresses through in Paris

Serena and her sister Venus lost 6-4, 6-7, 0-6 to No 3 seeds Andreja Klepac and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.

Sharapova now progresses to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros where she will take on either Garbine Muguruza or Lesia Tsurenko.  

Monday would have been the first time the pair played against each other in two years. 

They last met at the 2016 Australian Open, when Sharapova was embroiled in a scandal after failing a drug test.

Much has been made of the Williams-Sharapova rivalry through the years, despite the fact that Sharapova has only bested Williams twice in her tennis career. 

And it appeared to intensify when Sharapova hit out at Williams in her 2017 biography ‘Unstoppable: My Life So Far’. 

In the book Sharapova said she believed Williams never forgave her for winning Wimbledon in 2004. 

‘I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds, at Wimbledon,’ Sharapova wrote. 

‘I think she hated me for seeing her at her lowest moment. But mostly, I think she hated me for hearing her cry. She’s never forgiven me for it.’ 

But on Sunday Williams called the book ‘100 percent hearsay’ and said it was ‘a little bit disappointing’. 

‘I have cried in the locker room many times after a loss, and that’s what I have seen a lot of people do,’ she told the BBC. 

‘I think it’s normal. I think, if anything, it shows the passion and desire and, you know, the will that you have to want to go out there and do the best.’ 

‘I think what happens there should definitely maybe stay there, and not necessarily talk about it in a not-so-positive way in a book.’ 

But despite Sharapova’s words, Williams said she had no ‘negative feelings’ toward the controversial tennis star. 

‘A lot of people always assume that I feel a different way and it’s not true,’ Williams said. 

‘Especially having a daughter – I feel like negativity is taught. If anything, I feel like we should encourage each other, and the success of one female should be the inspiration to another, and I have said that a thousand times.’  

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