Serena Williams Withdraws From French Open After Achilles’ Tendon Injury: It ‘Just Happened’

Serena Williams made the difficult decision to withdraw from the French Open after sustaining an Achilles’ tendon injury, saying that she ‘really wanted to give an effort’ at the last Grand Slam of 2020.

Serena Williams announced before her second round match at the French Open, Roland Garros, that she has decided to withdraw, citing an Achilles’ tendon injury she sustained from the semi-final at the US Open. The 23-time Grand Slam champion, 39, made the announcement during a press conference at the final Grand Slam of 2020 in Paris. “I really wanted to give an effort here,” Serena told reporters, adding, “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.”

The tennis living legend’s Achilles’ tendon was injured during her semi-final match against fellow Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka. Serena took a medical time-out during the third set of the match in order to treat her injury, but subsequently lost in the third set. Serena shed more light on how she was dealing with her injury during her impressive first round match against compatriot Kristie Ahn, where Serena won the match 7-6, 6-0.

“I had to focus on walking straight so I wasn’t limping,” she revealed. “I think Achilles is an injury that you don’t want to play with because if it gets worse, it’s one of the worst injuries. I don’t want it to get to the point where it can’t get better.” Taking the advice of her physicians, Serena made the decision to take the remaining months in 2020 to rest and recuperate.

“I think I need four to six weeks of sitting and doing nothing,” she told the press. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to play another tournament this year,” she added, signaling the conclusion of her 2020 season. “If it was my knee it would be really more devastating for me,” she said. “This is something that just happened.”

Serena Williams at Roland Garros stadium on Monday, September 28, 2020. First round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 [AP].

While longtime fans of the inspiring mother-of-one are surely disappointed by the champion’s withdrawal, Serena assured everyone that the injury was just “acute,” adding, “I feel like my body is actually doing really, really well. I just ran into, for lack of a better word, bad timing and bad luck, really, in New York. It happened, but my body is actually doing really, really well.”

Serena turned 39 years old on September 26. She holds titles in four decades of her career and is the mother of three-year-old Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., whom she shares with husband Alexis Ohanian. The next scheduled Grand Slam, as of now, is the Australian Open, slated for January 2021.

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