The anticipated fourth round matchup between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova at the 2018 French Open will not happen today as scheduled.
Williams just announced in a press conference that she has withdrawn from the tournament at Roland-Garros due to an injury with her pectoral muscle, a situation she said she’s never experienced before.
“Unfortunately it has been getting worse to a point where right now I can’t actually serve, so it’s kind of hard to play when I can’t physically serve,” Williams told reporters this morning, just before her match was scheduled to begin.
Williams said the she started to feel discomfort during her last match against Germany’s Julia Görges. “It was really painful and I didn’t know what it was. In my doubles (match) yesterday (with sister Venus) I tried a lot of different tapings and I tried lots of different types of support to see how it would feel under match circumstance, and it didn’t really get a lot better.”
Saying she’s “beyond disappointed” at having to withdraw, Williams continued: “I gave up so much from this time with my daughter, time with my family and I put everything on the court all for this moment. So it’s really difficult to be in a situation that I always, for now, I just try to always think positive and just think of the bigger picture and hopefully the next events and the rest of the year.”
As for missing a chance to beat her tennis foe Sharapova for the 20th time in their heated 19-2 rivalry, “It’s very difficult because I love playing Maria and it’s a match that I always get up for. Her game matches so well against mine and it is difficult, because like I keep saying, I’ve given up so much to be here.
“There are times where I’m on the court and I’ll look on the monitor and I see my daughter and she’s playing and I want to be there, but I know that these are the sacrifices you have to make to live out your dream, and I’ve made every sacrifice that I could.
“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. 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.”