American tennis player Serena Williams announced her sudden withdrawal from the French Open following a muscle injury and left millions of fans into a grave shock on Monday. The announcement came shortly before the fourth-round clash against her long-time rival Maria Sharapova on Philippe-Chatrier court in Paris.
The 36-year-old said she had suffered a pectoral muscle injury in her third-round win over Julia Goerges and can't serve at all.
"It's extremely disappointing, 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," Williams said during a news conference at Roland Garros.
"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 and try to get better and not get it to a point where it could be a lot worse," she said.
Serena Williams confirms withdrawal from #FrenchOpen with arm injury before match against Maria Sharapova: AFP news agency (file pics) pic.twitter.com/XPAqNVvT2J— ANI (@ANI) June 4, 2018
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Her chest began hurting while she was playing Julia Goerges in the third-round singles on Saturday.
Following Williams' withdrawal, Sharapova, a two-time French Open champion, will automatically move into the quarterfinals.
Williams, who clinched 23 Grand Slam singles titles, added that she would stay in Paris for scans on the injury to find out how long she will be out of action.