In Brief

French Open: injured Serena Williams withdraws ahead of Maria Sharapova clash

The 23-time Grand Slam winner can’t physically serve because of a pectoral muscle problem

The tennis world has been anticipating fireworks, but the French Open clash between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova has not even had the chance to ignite.

That’s because 23-time Grand Slam winner Williams has been forced to withdraw from Roland-Garros due to a pectoral muscle injury. The New York Times reports that it’s the first time she’s pulled out of a Grand Slam singles championship during a tournament.

Speaking to media today, Williams revealed that the injury was stopping her from serving. She said: “I unfortunately have been having some issue with my pec [pectoral] muscle. Right now I can’t actually serve, so it’s hard to play. I can’t physically serve. It’s very difficult because I love playing Maria. Her game matches so well against mine.”

When asked about her chances of being fit for Wimbledon, Williams added: “I’m going to get an MRI tomorrow, I’ll stay here and see some doctors here, but I won’t know about [Wimbledon] before that.

“I’m beyond disappointed. I gave up so much – time with my daughter, time with my family. I put everything on the court... for this moment.

“[But] I try to think positive and think of the bigger picture, the next events and the rest of the year.”

Williams’s withdrawal means that Sharapova is through to the French Open quarter-finals where she will face the winner of the fourth-round tie between Gabrine Muguruza and Lesia Tsurenko.

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