Serena Williams won’t battle Maria Sharapova due to an injury to her pectoral muscle. The highly anticipated matchup would have had the unranked Williams face off against Sharapova, who is 30th in the world.
Williams spoke from the podium in a news conference at Roland Garros on Monday.
“It’s extremely disappointing,” Williams said, “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 mentioned that her pectoral muscle was limiting her serve to the point of dysfunction. Her voice trembled when she mentioned she would have to get an MRI done and meet with doctors in France.
“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 mentioned, per an ESPN report, “and try to get better and not get it to a point where it could be a lot worse.”
She first felt the pain when battling Julia Goerges on Saturday. In a doubles tournament with her sister Venus, she would tape the muscle to limit the pain.
The pain was foreign to her. She mentioned that “it was really painful and I didn’t know what it was.” Even though it isn’t a high-stakes match, it is dripping with a story. Williams is getting over post-partum depression, while Sharapova was suspended for 15 months for testing positive for a banned substance, according to CNN. The French Open is Williams’ first grand slam appearance since giving birth to her daughter in September.
“I’ll have a scan. I won’t know about Wimbledon until I get the results,” she said when a reporter asked.
Williams has defeated Sharapova in the last 18 matches and has won 19 of 21 face-offs with her. Sharapova will now move on to the quarterfinals. According to Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, they had hoped for rain as it would give them an extra day. However, the skies did not open and Williams was then forced to play. But because she couldn’t serve, she had to withdraw, Mouratoglou explained, as cited by US News.
“If it rains, we might gain one more day, and you never know how it feels tomorrow. So we had to wait. But we saw the sky was still blue… and we thought, ‘No chance.'”
The MRI will reveal all for Williams. If it comes back negative, she will more than likely be ready for Wimbledon in July.