Serena Williams’ bid for a 24th Grand Slam title ended on Monday when she withdrew from the French Open with a pectoral injury.
The four-time Olympic gold medalist was scheduled to face Maria Sharapova in a highly anticipated match in the fourth round at Roland Garros. Williams had won 19 of her last 22 matches against Sharapova and the last 18 in a row. Sharapova now automatically moves on to the quarterfinals.
This was Williams’ first major tournament since winning the Australian Open in January 2017, after which she took time off for the birth of her first child, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr.
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She told reporters at a news conference that her chest started to hurt during her third-round win over Julia Goerges on Saturday. She and sister Venus Williams played and lost a doubles match on Sunday, but by Monday morning she said she couldn’t serve at all. She plans to get an MRI and meet with doctors in Paris.
“I tried lots of taping and support to see how it felt in match circumstances,” Williams told reporters. “It is hard to play when I can't physically serve. I've never had this injury before, I've never felt it in my life and it was so painful. I don't know how to manage it.”
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.