Williams shared the unexpected news this morning, right before her match in the second round against Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova, according to a report from ESPN.
The four-time Olympic gold medal winner had a shot at making history if she had been able to compete in this year’s tournament. According to CBS Sports, Williams is one win away from winning 24 majors, which would tie the all-time record currently held by Margaret Court.
Williams has not won a major title since 2017, when she was crowned champion at the Australian Open.
The tennis star confessed that she had originally sustained the injury to her left Achilles tendon in a competition against Victoria Azarenka earlier in the month.
Williams has already withdrawn from one contest this year due to the pain she was experiencing, as she bowed out of participating in the competition in Italy, which just ended a week ago.
“I really wanted to give an effort here. It’s my Achilles that didn’t have enough time to properly heal after the [US] Open. I was able to get it somewhat better, but just looking long term in this tournament — will I be able to get through enough matches? For me, I don’t think I could. Struggling to walk, so that’s kind of a telltale sign I should try to recover,” the athlete stated during a recent news conference.
The 39-year-old attempted to warm up for her match this morning but felt she was limping, which led to her decision to withdraw.
Williams estimated her ankle will take six to eight weeks total to fully recover, and stated she will need two weeks of rest followed by four to six weeks of physical therapy. The severity of the pain led Williams to believe she will likely refrain from competing in another tournament this year.
After the announcement this morning, it marks the second time Williams has had to stop competing due to injury. Prior to her fourth-round match against Russia’s Maria Sharapova in 2018, the star explained that she had pulled a muscle in her chest and was unable to play.
She also used the post to thank all her supporters.