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Injury forces Serena Williams to withdraw from the French Open

Serena Williams withdrew from the French Open on Wednesday after an Achilles tendon injury forced her to do so.

The US tennis star, who turned 39 this week, had been due to play Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova in the second round in Paris later, but after warming up for the match decided the injury was too severe to continue.

Williams is ranked ninth and is a three-time former champion at Roland Garros.




Williams had suffered the problem during her semi-final loss to Victoria Azarenka at the US Open earlier this month and said ahead of her French Open campaign she was not at 100 percent physically but had recovered sufficiently to play.

This is Williams’s earliest exit at any Grand Slam tournament since a second-round loss in Paris in 2014.

Her last major title came at the 2017 Australian Open before going on to give birth to her first child, daughter Alexis Olympia.



Since resuming her career in 2018 after a maternity break, Williams has remained tantalisingly close to equalling Australian Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles, losing in four major finals.

The French Open, which is usually held in May in Paris, was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The tournament has been scaled back to allow just 1,000 daily spectators.